Edward Heath

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Sir Edward Heath

Sir Edward Richard George Heath KG MBE (9 July 191617 July 2005) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1975. Heath also served for 51 years as a Member of Parliament from 1950 to 2001.


Lord Privy Seal[edit]

  • The British government and the British people have been through a searching debate during the last few years on the subject of their relations with Europe. The result of this debate has been our present application. It was a decision arrived at, not on any narrow or short-term grounds, but as a result of a thorough assessment over a considerable period of the needs of our own country, of Europe and of the free world as a whole. We recognise it as a great decision, a turning point in our history, and we take it in all seriousness. In saying that we wish to join the EEC, we mean that we desire to become full, whole-hearted and active members of the European Community in its widest sense and to go forward with you in the building of a new Europe.
    • Opening statement at the United Kingdom application to join the EEC in Paris (10 October 1961), quoted in Edward Heath, The Course of My Life (1998), p. 214.
  • The end of the negotiations is a blow to the cause of the wider European unity for which we have been striving. We are a part of Europe, by geography, history, culture, tradition and civilization … There have been times in the history of Europe when it has been only too plain how European we are; and there have been many millions of people who have been grateful for it. I say to my colleagues: they should have no fear. We in Britain are not going to turn out backs on the mainland of Europe or the countries of the Community.
    • Speech at European conference after France vetoed the British application to join the EEC (28 January 1963), quoted in Edward Heath, The Course of My Life (1998), p. 235.

Leader of the Opposition[edit]

  • Action, not words.
    • Title of 1966 Conservative election manifesto (publication GE 1).
  • Robin Day: But how low does your personal rating, among your own supporters, have to go before you consider yourself a liability to the party you lead?
    Edward Heath: Well, popularity isn't everything. In fact it isn't the most important thing. What matters is doing what you believe to be right, and that's what I've always tried to do and I shall go on doing. The question doesn't arise.
    • Interview on Panorama, BBC 1 (16 October 1967).
  • I have told Mr Powell that I consider the speech he made in Birmingham yesterday to have been racialist in tone and liable to exacerbate racial tensions. This is unacceptable from one of the leaders of the Conservative Party
  • That, although a century out of date, would certainly be a distinctive, different policy. But it would not be a Conservative policy and it would not provide a Conservative alternative. For better or worse the central Government is already responsible, in some way or another, for nearly half the activities of Britain. It is by far the biggest spender and the biggest employer.
    • Speech in Scotland (10 September 1968) criticising free market ideas, quoted in The Times (11 September 1968), p. 1.
  • If there are any who believe that immigrants to this country, most of whom have already become British citizens, could be forcibly deported because they are coloured people...then that I must repudiate, absolutely and completely.
    • Speech to Conservative Party Conference (12 October 1968), quoted in John Campbell, Edward Heath (1993), p. 245.
  • I have always had a hidden wish, a frustrated desire, to run a hotel.
  • My position has remained the same. I have had more to do, at first hand, with European policy than any other person in politics today.
    • Interview with Robin Day on BBC Panorama (6 October 1969), quoted in The Times (7 October 1969), p. 1
  • The conclusion of Mr. Powell's latest speech as I understand it—certainly its implication—is that we should do nothing to help boroughs and cities like Birmingham and Wolverhampton that have these problems, in the hope that if only we let the housing get bad enough, the schools overcrowded enough, and the social services overburdened enough, the immigrants will go away of their own accord, and the problems will disappear. It is an example of man's inhumanity to man which is absolutely intolerable in a Christian, civilized society.
    • Interview with BBC Radio's The World This Weekend (18 January 1970), quoted in The Times (19 January 1970), p. 1
  • Everyone who is already here must be treated as equal before the law.
  • It would not be in the interests of the Community that its enlargement should take place except with the full-hearted consent of the parliaments and its peoples of the new member countries.
    • Speech in Paris (5 May 1970), quoted in The Times (24 December 1970), p. 3
  • We may be a small island. We're not a small people... For the last six years the Government of this country...have let us be treated as second rate. They even plan for us to stay second rate. Because that's what Labour policies mean... Now I don't intend to stand by and see this happen... Do you want a better tomorrow? ... That's what I will work for with all my strength and with all my heart. I give you my word and I will keep my word.
    • Television broadcast (15 June 1970), quoted in John Campbell, Edward Heath (1993), p. 278.
  • This would, at a stroke, reduce the rise in prices, increase production and reduce unemployment.
    • Statement (16 June 1970), quoted in The Times (17 June 1970), p. 4. This would be quoted back at Heath repeatedly during his premiership.
  • This was a secret meeting on a secret tour which nobody is supposed to know about. It means that there are men, and perhaps women, in this country walking around with eggs in their pockets, just on the off-chance of seeing the Prime Minister.
    • Remarks to the press after Harold Wilson was hit by eggs thrown by demonstrators on two successive days (1 June 1970), quoted in Edward Heath, The Course of My Life (1998), p. 305.
  • It was wildly exciting. It certainly wasn't the highest feeling I've ever had, but it was one of them. In those days, security was not as good as today. Just afterwards, some chap was able to get at me and stab the back of my neck with a cigarette. It wasn't very pleasant.
    • Describing the scene at Conservative central office after winning the 1970 general election.[citation needed]
  • One lonely voice still shouting labour!
    • During the 1970 election campaign.

Prime Minister[edit]

  • You will see that our strategy is clear. It is to reorganise the functions of Government, to leave more to individual or to corporate effort, to make savings in Government expenditure, to provide room for greater incentives to men and women and to firms and businesses. Our strategy is to encourage them more and more to take their own decisions, to stand on their own feet, to accept responsibility for themselves and for their families.
    • Speech to the Conservative Party Conference (10 October 1970), quoted in John Campbell, Edward Heath (1993), p. 310
  • No one can deny that today the major cause of the inflation from which we are suffering is the excessive wage demands... It is the responsibility of an employer, direct or indirect...if they go their own way and accede to irresponsible wage demands which damage their own firms and create a loss of jobs for those who work in them, then the Government are certainly not going to step in and rescue them from the consequences of their own actions.
    • Speech to the Conservative Party Conference (10 October 1970), quoted in John Campbell, Edward Heath (1993), p. 311
  • We will have to embark on a change so radical, a revolution so quiet and yet so total, that it will go far beyond the programme for a parliament.
    • Speech to the Conservative Party Conference (10 October 1970), quoted in John Campbell, Edward Heath (1993), p. 311
  • [W]e must recognise a new threat to the peace of the nations, indeed to the very fabric of society. We have seen in the last few years the growth of a cult of political violence, preached and practised not so much between states as within them. It is a sombre thought but it may be that in the 1970s civil war, not war between nations, will be the main danger we will face.
  • [I]ncreasingly the use of violence has become not the last resort of the desperate, but the first resort of those whose simple unconstructive aim is anarchy. That we must all surely resist. Anarchy is not a prescription for peace, justice and progress. It achieves nothing but the suffering of innocent men and women.
  • Do we have the courage to forget the dissensions and the suspicions that have divided us, and to learn to work together for lasting peace and prosperity, not just for our country but for a continent? Do we have the wisdom to achieve by construction and cooperation what Napoleon and Hitler failed to achieve by destruction and by conquest? ... Let us all recognise the opportunity that is now presented to us for what it is: the chance to unite Western Europe.
    • Speech to the Conservative Women's annual conference in Central Hall, Westminster (19 May 1971), quoted in The Times (20 May 1971), p. 5
  • There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty, even that we shall begin to lose our national identity. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified and exaggerated. We shall, of course, be accepting the common procedures of Community life, just as we accept those of other organizations which we have joined. But within the framework of a developing Community the identity of national states will be maintained.
    • Speech in Wilton Park, Sussex (21 June 1971), quoted in The Times (22 June 1971), p. 5
  • Government, management and unions...have now...jointly embarked for the first time in Britain, on the path of working out together how to create and share the nation's wealth for the benefit of all the people. It is an offer to employers and unions to share fully with the Government the benefits and the obligations involved in running the national economy.
    • Speech to Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool (14 October 1972), quoted in John Campbell, Edward Heath (1993), pp. 473-474
  • Our problem at the moment is a problem of success.
  • The miners' leaders have said more than once that they are confronting the Government, not the National Coal Board. I believe they may not yet have fully understood the implications of this approach. For it is just not the government—it is the expressed will of the elected representatives of the people in Parliament. That is the main difference between the dispute in 1972 and the dispute in 1973 and I believe that it will prove decisive. For the authority of the elected Parliament is the cornerstone of our democracy, and is recognized as such by the overwhelming majority of people in this country
    • Speech in Nelson, Lancashire (22 November 1973), quoted in The Times (23 November 1973), p. 2
  • As Prime Minister, I want to speak to you, simply and plainly, about the grave emergency now facing our country. In the House of Commons this afternoon I announced more severe restriction on the use of electricity. You may already have heard the details of these. We are asking you to to cut down to the absolute minimum the use of electricity for heating, and for other purposes in your homes. We are limiting the use of electricity by almost all factories, shops, and offices, to three days a week.
  • He [Mick McGahey] has made it quite plain over the weekend—as has another miners' leader—that the object of what they are doing is not a wage negotiation... Its purpose is...to get rid of the elected government of the day. Now that is entirely a political approach and, he has said quite openly, he wishes to do it in order to get a left-wing government and obviously he expects a left-wing government to toe the line as far as he is concerned.
    • Interview with Robin Day on BBC Panorama (28 January 1974), quoted in The Times (29 January 1974), p. 1


  • I was interested in being present for its first, and I trust only, performance.
    • After hearing a new choral work at Gloucester Cathedral, 1975.[citation needed]
  • In excluding me from the shadow cabinet, Margaret Thatcher has chosen what I believe to be the only wholly honest solution and one which I accept and welcome.
  • The historic role of the Conservative Party is to use the leverage of its political and diplomatic skills to create a fresh balance between the different elements within the state at those times when, for one reason or another, their imbalance threatens to disrupt the orderly development of society.
  • They have made a grave mistake choosing that woman.
    • On Margaret Thatcher's election to the leadership of the Tory Party, 1975.[citation needed]
  • Benn, Shore and Foot were like the three witches in Macbeth ... In some darkened room of Transport House, on the very left of the building, they are busy boiling their own witches' brew. A dash of distortion here, an element of exaggeration there, all of course to be taken with a pinch of salt. And as they brew their myths, they delight in creating hubble, bubble, toil and trouble... [Benn] is probably the biggest bureaucrat and the wildest spendthrift that this country has ever known. But let us recognize the facts. Benn, Shore and Foot are using the Europe issue to brew up toil and trouble inside the Labour Party for their own ends ... If there was a "No" vote in the referendum, we would find ourselves pulling out of Europe straight into the welcoming arms of the wild men of Labour's left.
    • Speech to the Conservative Group for Europe in Central Hall, Westminster (19 April 1975), quoted in The Times (21 April 1975), p. 4
  • [If Britain withdrew from the EEC] the wild men of the left would certainly try to build a barrier against the outside world. But they would be confronted by such powerful economic gales that they would be forced to build the barriers higher and higher until they had finally built an economic Berlin wall around Britain. Within that wall would be a socialist state running a siege economy.
    • Speech in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire (28 April 1975), quoted in The Times (29 April 1975), p. 2
  • [If Britain withdrew from the EEC] it would be a new and different D-Day for Britain—Disaster Day. Of course, this is what the wild men of the left, Mr Benn, Mr Shore and Mr Foot actually want. They thrive on a diet of disaster...they are aching for the go-ahead to build an economic Berlin wall around Britain. And within that British Berlin wall, there would be a socialist State running a siege economy.
    • Speech in Newcastle (2 May 1975), quoted in The Times (3 May 1975), p. 4
  • We would find ourselves pulling out of the European Community straight into the arms of the wild men of the left. The whole country would be plagued with Foot and Benn disease ... The left are not really all that interested in the Common Market. What they want is for Britain to break her treaty obligations and pull out of the Community so that they could impose their own extreme socialist state in Britain.
    • Speech in Catterick, Yorkshire (29 May 1975), quoted in The Times (30 May 1975), p. 4
  • I regard Mr Benn as a menace to the country. He was guilty of sabotage last year when he rejected an offer of Community help with the readjustment necessary due to steel plant closures in Wales.
    • Interview with Newcastle's Metro Radio (2 June 1975), quoted in The Times (3 June 1975), p. 4
  • You mustn't expect prime ministers to enjoy themselves. If they do, they mustn't show it – the population would be horrified.
  • The Pax Americana has gone the way of the Pax Britannica ... The implication for us in Europe is twofold. First, we shall no longer be able to enjoy the luxury of urging the Americans to put right anything of which we disapprove anywhere in the world and then of criticizing them for the way they do it; and secondly, we shall have to undertake a proper share of the burden of Western defence if American support for the Western Alliance is to be sustained. That share can be underpinned only by a strong and expanding European economy.
    • Speech to the Conservative Political Centre in Blackpool (12 October 1977), quoted in The Times (13 October 1977), p. 6
  • The opponents of EEC membership inside the Labour Party know how much more difficult it would be to foist their brand of left-wing socialism on the British people if we remain part of a Community based on the principles of free enterprise and the mixed economy. We in the Conservative Party must vigorously oppose this ominous development.
    • Speech to the Conservative Group for Europe after the Labour Party conference voted for Britain to leave the European Economic Community, quoted in The Times (9 October 1980), p. 6.
  • What I have in common with the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) is that, undeniably, our generation came into Parliament because we were determined to prevent what happened in the 1930s from occurring again and to prevent a breakdown in the social structure and the political institutions that led to the rise of authoritarianism in Europe and finally to the Second World War. That was our determination, and for 25 years, from 1950 to 1975, the people we represented had a better standard of living, bigger and better homes, better education, a better Health Service, better roads and better transport and were able to enjoy holidays such as they had not envisaged before.
  • We are now faced with massive unemployment, on a scale certainly at the level of the 1930s and to become greater. The improvement in housing, education and the standard of living has stopped. To all of us, that is a matter of the greatest possible regret... One of our intentions after the 1930s was to ensure that the Conservative Party was never again considered to be the party of unemployment. I ask my hon. Friends to think seriously about that in our present circumstances.
  • The time has come to speak out. Britain is now locked in a vicious spiralling interest rates... The net result of completing the vicious circle is that prices have increased, the rate of inflation has gone up, the money supply has increased, unemployment has gone up, the rate of bankruptcies has increased, the industrial base has been further eroded, the Government's borrowing requirement has increased and as a result there is more pressure to raise interest rates yet again, to be followed inevitably by the same vicious circle. It is this that must be broken.
    • Speech to the Federation of Conservative Students in Manchester (6 October 1981), quoted in The Times (7 October 1981), p. 6.
  • Progress in these policies can only be brought about if a considerable degree of consensus exists within our country. I have heard some doubt expressed as to what consensus means... Consensus means deliberately setting out to achieve the widest possible measure of agreement about our national policies, in this particular case about our economic activities, in the pursuit of a better standard of living for our people and a happier and more prosperous country. If there be any doubt about the desirability of working towards such a consensus let us recognize that every successful industrialized country in the modern world has been working on such a basis.
    • Speech to the Federation of Conservative Students in Manchester (6 October 1981), quoted in The Times (7 October 1981), p. 6. Margaret Thatcher had read Heath's advance text and responded by saying that "To me consensus seems to be—the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no-one believes, but to which no-one objects".
  • Please don't applaud. It may irritate your neighbour.
    • Receiving a mixed reaction to his speech at the Conservative Party conference, Blackpool (14 October 1981), quoted in John Campbell, Edward Heath (1993), p. 731
  • We have had eight years of consistent and persistent attacks on those four years in government - and on me, personally, but that does not matter - by people who were collectively responsible for those four years.
    • Interviewed in 1982 about Margaret Thatcher's attitude towards him and his government.[citation needed]
  • It is bad because it is a negation of democracy … Worst of all is the imposition by parliamentary diktat of a change of responsible party in London government. There cannot be any justification for that. It immediately lays the Conservative Party open to the charge of the greatest gerrymandering in the last 150 years of British history.
  • It was the most enthralling episode in my life
  • I don't think that modesty is the outstanding characteristic of contemporary politics, do you?"
  • Whatever the lady does is wrong. I do not know of a single right decision taken by her.
  • There's a lot of people I've encouraged and helped to get into the House of Commons. Looking at them now, I'm not so sure it was a wise thing to do.
  • Peter Sissons: The single currency, a United States of Europe, was all that in your mind when you took Britain in?
    Edward Heath: Of course, yes.
    • On BBC's Question Time (1 November 1990), quoted in Peter Sissons, When One Door Closes (2012)
  • Rejoice! Rejoice!
    • On hearing the news of Margaret Thatcher's resignation (22 November 1990), quoted in John Campbell, Edward Heath (London: Jonathan Cape, 1993), p. 787. When asked later if it was true that he had issued such a joyful declaration on his rival's political demise, he said no. He hadn't said rejoice twice, he had said it three times.
  • This is the new imperialism, and I am against the new imperialism. It is not our job to go throwing our forces around the world and saying 'This is an evil man and so on'.
    • Remarks on the Gulf War on ITV, On the Record (3 February 1991), quoted in The Times (4 February 1991), p. 5.
  • Do you know what Margaret Thatcher did in her first Budget? Introduced VAT on yachts! It somewhat ruined my retirement.
  • A tragedy for the party. He's got no ideas, no experience and no hope.
    • On William Hague's election to the leadership of the Conservative Party, 1997.[citation needed]


  • You'll lose.
    • His full response supposedly made to Margaret Thatcher when she informed him she would be standing against him for the Conservative leadership in 1975. Attributed to him in his Daily Telegraph obituary (18 July 2005), although disputed by Heath's autobiography.

Quotes about Heath[edit]

  • Did it have to come to this? The paradox is that when Europe was less united, it was in many ways more independent. The leaders who ruled in the early stages of integration had all been formed in a world before the global hegemony of the United States, when the major European states were themselves imperial powers, whose foreign policies were self-determined. These were people who had lived through the disasters of the Second World War, but were not crushed by them. This was true not just of a figure like De Gaulle, but of Adenauer and Mollet, of Eden and Heath, all of whom were quite prepared to ignore or defy America if their ambitions demanded it. Monnet, who did not accept their national assumptions, and never clashed with the US, still shared their sense of a future in which Europeans could settle their own affairs, in another fashion. Down into the 1970s, something of this spirit lived on even in Giscard and Schmidt, as Carter discovered. But with the neo-liberal turn of the 1980s, and the arrival in power in the 1990s of a postwar generation, it faded. The new economic doctrines cast doubt on the state as a political agent, and the new leaders had never known anything except the Pax Americana. The traditional springs of autonomy were gone.
    • Perry Anderson, "Depicting Europe", London Review of Books (20 September 2007)
  • The incredible sulk.
    • Anonymous nickname referring to his complaints about Margaret Thatcher.
  • It was abundantly apparent at the end of that meeting that the strike was political, because I remember McGahey, who'd been rather curt in his answers... I remember Ted [Heath] saying to him, "What is it you want, Mr McGahey?" He said something to the effect, "I want to see the end of your government!"
    • Anthony Barber on Heath's meeting with the National Union of Mineworkers executive in Downing Street on 28 November 1973, quoted in Phillip Whitehead, The Writing on the Wall: Britain in the Seventies (1985), p. 104
  • He has a deep contempt for Britain, the British people and parliamentary democracy. He is trying to climb back to power via the Treaty of Rome, and put Britain under government from Brussels for ever. In 1970 Mr Heath solemnly promised that he would not take Britain into the Common Market without the full-hearted consent of the British people. He broke his pledged word then, and he now says he will not accept a 'No' vote on Thursday. Heath promised more jobs and higher living standards inside the EEC. These promises were all broken, and he now tells us we are so poor we cannot come out; beggars can't be choosers. That is false, too. Heath's leadership has been a total disaster for the British people. The Tory Party threw him out.
    • Tony Benn, Speech at an anti-EEC rally (3 June 1975), quoted in 'Heath attack by Mr Benn', The Times (4 June 1975), p. 6
  • Mrs Thatcher made...the most rumbustious rampaging, right-wing speech that I've heard from the Government Front Bench in the whole of my life. Afterwards I saw Ted Heath and told him, "I've never heard a speech like that in all my years in Parliament." He said, "Neither have I." "I suppose this really was what Selsdon was all about." "Oh, there never was a Selsdon policy," Heath replied. "It was invented by Harold Wilson. Look at our 1970 manifesto; it wasn't there at all." ... I said I had some sympathy with Thatcher – with her dislike of the wishy-washy centre of British politics. He gave me such a frosty look that I daresay I had touched a raw nerve.
    • Tony Benn, diary entry (15 May 1979), quoted in Tony Benn, Conflicts of Interest: Diaries 1977–80 (1990), p. 505
  • The lengthy Watergate Scandal, which eventually led to the fall of Nixon in 1974, helped cause a crisis of confidence in American leadership. Moreover, Western disunity was seen in Western European unwillingness to respond in NATO to America’s global commitments as well as growing French alienation from the USA. Edward Heath, British Prime Minister from 1970 to 1974, was determined not to be branded as the American spokesman in Europe, was not eager for close co-operation with Nixon, and argued that membership in the European Community represented a welcome alternative to the USA. Britain was also faced from 1974 by a political upheaval stemming from a coalminersstrike, and then by a more general crisis as high inflation and trade union power contributed to an acute sense of malaise and weakness. The idea of Britain playing a role in resisting Communist expansion and activity outside Western Europe and the North Atlantic appeared increasingly incredible. Nationalist violence in Northern Ireland placed a new strain on the British military.
  • [T]here was among ordinary Tories in the country a more generalised mood of mounting frustration at the failure of successive Conservative Governments to halt or reverse what seemed a relentless one-way slide to socialism. Not only in the management of the economy but in almost every sphere of domestic and foreign policy – immigration, comprehensive schools, trade unions, Northern Ireland, Rhodesia – Heath had appeared almost deliberately to affront the party's traditional supporters while appeasing their tribal enemies. Strikes, crime, revolting students, pornography, terrorism, inflation eating away at their savings, even decimalisation, all stoked in saloon bars, golf clubs and the columns of the Daily Telegraph a rising anger that the country was going to the dogs while the Tory Government was not resisting but rather speeding the process. By the time Heath lost the February 1974 election an ugly mood had built up in the Tory party which lacked only heavyweight leadership to weld together the two elements – the political backlash and the economic analysis – to form a potent combination which ultimately became known as Thatcherism.
    • John Campbell, Margaret Thatcher, Volume One: The Grocer's Daughter (2000), pp. 262-263
  • Heath...was passionately committed on the merits of the issue. He waged an extremely effective campaign, and my respect for him, already considerable at the beginning, went steadily up as it progressed. Yet he was always a difficult morsel to digest. He never tried to be awkward, but there was a certain inherent awkwardness about his character and indeed his physique. He stood resolutely there, as impervious to the waves and as reliable in his beam as a great lighthouse, but sometimes blocking the way. But he was never negligible. ... [H]e was dependable and powerful.
  • No Prime Minister, either before or since, could compare with Ted Heath in the efforts he made to establish a spirit of camaraderie with trade unions and to offer an attractive package which might satisfy large numbers of work people. At the outset I thought he represented the hard face of the Tory party but over the years he revealed the human face of Toryism, at least to the trade union leaders who met him frequently. It is doubtful whether the public gained that view of him, partly because, as he himself admitted at one of the Downing Street meetings, he was a bad communicator. Amazingly, he gained more personal respect from union leaders than they seemed to have for Harold Wilson, or even Jim Callaghan.
  • Ted had the respect of trade-union people until just before the Chequers breakdown. Why? His infinite capacity for listening, and his manifest sincerity of purpose. Trade-union people know when they are dealing with an honest man and a straight man. They saw this in him. They thought the breakdown was due not to him but to the pressure from his Cabinet: that he was being imposed upon by the hard-faced men in the Cabinet. Therefore they came to think no progress could be made.
    • Ronald McIntosh, remarks to Hugo Young (6 February 1976), quoted in Hugo Young, The Hugo Young Papers: Thirty Years of British Politics – Off the Record, ed. Ion Trewin (2008), p. 80
  • Heath was known for his ability and energy, which marked him out for a leading role in the British Conservative Party. I liked him above all for his human qualities and his convictions. On the need for Britain to take part in the building of Europe he had not faltered since his maiden speech in 1950; nor did he in the future.
  • [T]he Conservative Opposition under Ted Heath decided to support the Labour Government's legislation [the Race Relations Bill]. Later, when Enoch Powell spoke in Birmingham in April [1968], saying, “Like the Roman, I see the River Tiber flowing with much blood”, Heath removed him from the Shadow Cabinet. This was to Heath's immense credit because public opinion was wholly with Enoch Powell and many Conservative activists saw Powell as the saviour of the nation. Heath thought the whole tone of the speech was incompatible with the Conservative Party's attitude to race relations and demonstrated to me for the first time the decisiveness and principle which I later learnt to respect.
  • In January 1972, although the jobless total adjusted for seasonal factors remained below one million, the unadjusted overall total exceeded that. The Commons had to be suspended during the Prime Minister's Questions following Labour's furious protests. This in itself did not shake Ted, but he utterly despised and detested the pre-war Conservative governments, who had tolerated between two and three million unemployed. It was therefore no surprise in which direction Ted decided our economic policy should go when he now had to choose between tolerating a continued high level of unemployment, in the hope that this would keep some control over wage claims and inflation – or trying to run the economy with a higher level of output and growth, and seeking some other means of control over wage and price increases. The high unemployment route was counter to everything Ted believed in and had hoped to achieve for Britain.

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