Sunday, May 21, 2006

Eric Forth

That the Tory right should be distresed at the death of Eric Forth is understandable; but the incontinent outpouring of grief by all and sundry is more bewildering. It reminds me of the old "Not The Nine O'Clock News" sketch: two politicians are verbally abusing each other when one suddenly keels over and dies of a heart attack; the other, without a beat, starts praising "a man of the utmost integrity", etc. One does not want to speak ill of the recently deceased, but according to the Guardian obituary Forth, iner alia: opposed the sex equality Bill; supported the Rugby Union tour of South Africa; and opposed spending "vast sums" on combating AIDS (which he described as "self-inflicted"). This sort of thing was combined with more common-or-garden right-wing views such as criticising "all this sucking up to minorities" and advocating the restoration of hanging. He is currently being described as "colourful", "unfashionable", "a good House of Commons man" and so on. I seem to remember Tony Benn in "Not The Nine O'Clock News" mode after Enoch Powell died (even going so far as to say he "was not a racist"). I'm afraid I cannot find the views of Forth or Powell on apartheid or AIDS simply an amusing eccentricity ("lurid ties and waistcoats" notwithstanding). At a stretch Forth may well, on a personal level, have been an amusing and engaging fellow; I have no idea, although my experiences of saloon-bar types with these kind of views suggests perhaps not. In any case, those of us who think so should not pretend his views were anything but utterly vile. Frankly, I myself will not be weeping with inconsolable grief when Maggie Thatcher or Ian Paisley kick the bucket. I'm sorry if this all seems uncharitable, but honestly...

3 Comments:

Blogger Shaun (ed.) said...

opposed the sex equality Bill; supported the Rugby Union tour of South Africa; and opposed spending "vast sums" on combating AIDS (which he described as "self-inflicted"). This sort of thing was combined with more common-or-garden right-wing views such as criticising "all this sucking up to minorities" and advocating the restoration of hanging

Yes, I don't agree with such beliefs, but he was right in fighting this government and many MPs' predisposition to pass impractical and petty 'nannystate' legislation. For such efforts he will be sorely missed by libertarian Tories.

5:24 pm  
Blogger skipper said...

Totally agree with this post Politaholic. Well said.

11:16 pm  
Anonymous Blog reading teacher said...

Good posting! Forth was flawed but had character, refusing to be an anodyne party drone.

11:12 am  

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