Thursday, 22 January 2015

Ex EU Commissioner Leon Brittan Dies

The headline, of course, could have just as easily said "Ex EU Commissioner Leon Brittan dies".

No doubt in part related to significant allegations made against him towards the end of his life, Brittan is seen as controversial.

But we mustn't also forget he was a long line of Tory MPs who supported further European integration and went "native" particularly over the UK's membership of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism - the very mechanism which led directly to the early '90s recession and so-called Black Wednesday. While Thatcher was fighting a rearguard action against membership, Brittan helped to isolate her.

The subsequent consequences of ERM membership were disastrous for Britain and for the rest of us.

One however appreciates the irony that being an EU Commissioner means always referring to the UK as a member state and never specifically naming the country of his birth (always "the country I know best" - in Euro speak) with the homophone that was his name.

We on this blog, rightly or wrongly, have never been a great fan of the phrase - or belief - of "not speaking ill of the dead". Our view of him while he was alive is no different now he's dead. To advocate otherwise would be dishonest...

1 comment:

  1. Just one small note, really more regarding the yesterday's men talking about Brittan on last night's news - none of them wished to account for why Mrs. T had sidelined him out of the Home Office. It was reported on at the time, and was not denied at the time, that she'd decided he'd misjudged the departmental reaction to the 1984 Libyan Embassy crisis. Whether, thirty-and-more years on observers might disagree with the sentiment is more academic - that was the nature of the reports at that time.