Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Searching My Memory

Psycho's Penalty Saved - So Thatcher Resigns 4 Months Later.

I have had the painful experience of being tagged by both Bob Piper and Tom Harris on a Blog Meme initiated by Iain Dale who has nothing better to do with his time. I have to try and remember where I was when I first heard about the following five events. This could be embarrassing. But here goes.

Princess Diana's Death : 31 August 1997

Luckily my wife has a better memory than I have. She tells me that we had just returned from our summer holiday in Malta and were in the flat which I rented in London when I was an MP. Radio Sheffield rang up for my comments. It was the first time I heard the news. I don't think I then invented the phrase that she was the "People's Princess", but with my memory who knows. I had heard Diana speak once at a Charity event in the Lords, but the only Royal I have ever had a discussion with is Princess Anne who showed a serious understanding about the situation in Northern Ireland.

Margaret Thatcher's Resignation : 22 November, 1990

Even I can remember this one. I was passing through the Members Cloak Room in the Commons when Geoffrey Johnson-Smith, the Tory MP (1959-2001) rushed up to get me to read the tapes in the corner of the room showing that Thatcher had gone. He was excited and pleased. I served on the "Members Interests Select Committee" which Geoffrey chaired, so we knew each other well. Years earlier I had watched him on TV presenting the Tonight programme with Cliff Michelmore and interviewing a young Bridget Bardo. I haven't forgot that either.

Attack On Twin Towers : 11 September, 2001

Ann and I were on holiday in Lazarotte because our daughter worked there. We were sunning ourselves, when I decided to return to the hotel room for a comfortable kip. But I switched the TV on just after the first tower had been hit. I rushed to tell Ann and we dashed back to see the second tower being hit. Our son and future daughter-in-law had been up to the 107th floor of the World Trade Centre the year before. 6 months after the twin towers were brought down I visited the site with a Parliamentary Committee.

England World Cup Semi-Final : 4 July, 1990

Over the years football matches merge into each other. Sunderland 1 Grimsby 2 on 19 October, 1946 is something else, with my Dad sitting me on a concrete barrier at the Roker End. For England, I just about remember Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missing penalties in the shoot out. I imagine that I watched it on a large screen in the Commons. The business of the House was on the Adjournment to avoid us having to pull ourselves away from the screen by voting. That evening the Sheffield paper "The Star" carried an article about me headed "Anti-Poll tax MP prepares for Court". Now I remember what all that was about.

President Kennedy's Assassination : 22 November, 1963

As your short term memory goes first, I can easily remember this one. Ann and I had only been married for 2 months and she came with me to a meeting of the Staff-Student Philosophy Society at Hull University where I was an adult student studying Politics and Philosophy. I was addressing them on Rousseau who met at the crossroads of the two halves of my studies. It was before the meeting started that we heard of the Kennedy assassination. It was the main topic of conversation before and after my turn - and I imagine during it. Just so that I can brag as to how prestigious these meetings were, I will point out that Professor Bernard Williams (whom Shirley Williams was married to for a while) was one of the later speakers. I remember because Ann fancied him, but I never felt the same about Shirley who went and ratted on the Labour Party.

I now have to pass this meme thing on to 5 other unsuspecting souls and I don't even know if some of them have already been caught up in it. So I finger -

1. Modernity Blog
2. Plattitude
3. Unrepentant Communist
4. Your Friend In the North
5. Roger Darlington

Variety is the spice of life. But this mixed bag will all have to be over 55 or so to complete all the categories.


Steve Platt said...

I'll do it for you Harry as it's not too long and I can remember most of them! Give me a few days though.

Did they really have a large-screen TV for football in the Commons back in 1990?

Harry Barnes said...

Steve Platt : Thanks. But perhaps there wasn't a large screen at that time. We might just have viewed a normal TV - or perhaps I went back to the flat to watch it. But at some stage I did see a match shown on something like a cinema screen, downstairs in the Commons. But I am dependent on my wife to tell me about the Diana's death - which I then padded out with Princess Ann bit. The football one is really quesswork after looking up Hansard for the day. The other incidents I firmly believe happened as I describe them - but thats no proof !

ModernityBlog said...

Harry's Place has been attacked, and is functioning from a backup blog, http://jennadelich.blogspot.com/

Your support in this matter would be appreciated.

Harry Barnes said...

Modernityblog : response is in the above thread.