Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Beer Foils Kidnap

I pass this on simply as an illustration of what a very different, more gentle world we lived in just 40 years ago. Being a gentleman, Sir Alec kept the incident completely hushed up to avoid landing his bodyguard in the soup. He appears not to have needed post-trauma counselling either.


  1. Imagine what a grotesque tear-jerking ritual the Blair would have made of it.

  2. Such quick-thinking heroism may be gone with the wind. Apparently climate change will make us all more vulnerable to kidnapping.

    True, the article makes it clear Australians have the most to worry about, but this is no time for smugness. Rumour has it parallel research will show a similar threat to whiskey in Scotland and wine in France. That Gaia is one bitchy lady!

  3. Douglas-Home struck one, even in the sixties, as remarkably old-fashioned, as if just arrived, fully formed, from the Edwardian age, particularly when viewed against the politically blood-thirsty time of October 1963 and the battle to become the ailing Macmillan's successor. He came across to the armchair observer as an utterly decent man whose political reputation never seemed able to throw off the stigma of having been part of Chamberlain's team at Munich.

    He appeared genuinely self-effacing with an ability to smile, if not laugh, at himself. His candidature for the leadership was forced on him to block 'Rab' Butler, and in his magnificent biography of Macmillan, Alistair Horne records that Home informed Butler "I'm going to see my doctor on Tuesday.' Butler asked 'why?' He replied "Because I have been approached about the possibility of my becoming leader of the Conservative party." Home remarked later 'the doctor unfortunately said I was fit!'

  4. Yes Johntyh, a fine fellow - also the only British PM to have played first-class cricket (Oxford, Middlesex, MCC). Imagine Gordon Brown at the crease - no, don't...

  5. I remember Lord Humes tenancy of No 10, not exactly a tour de force.
    He was (his descendant is now) part of the Northumberland and Scottish borders toffocracy. That consists of the above, the duke of Northumberland, The Ridleys, The dukes of Beuccleuch and Roxburgh, the duke and duchess of Sutherland, Maggies mate Ancrum and a few more lesser toffs.
    These people between them own vast tracts of land between Newcastle and Edinburgh.
    A lot of their income is derived from farm rents.
    Some of them are decent people (the dukes of Beuccleugh in particular, the old duke who sadly died last year and now his son) their husbandry of their land is an example that the rest should follow, far better than the land would be under public ownership (I know this as my little bit borders onto one of their big bits and I do have the occasional dealings.)
    The rest of them, however, well I'll leave it at that, except to say that the would fit nicely in the tumbrells

  6. I'd like to think he served them Whitbread's - nectar of Empire! - from a crate in the pantry; blue labels on deliciously chill brown glass bottles, and into pewter tankards. None of today's nonsense about cans, Stella 'n' scratchings.

    Maybe he also kept quiet about the incident because he saw it as unremarkable, quite normal even. These were students, ragging about. That's what students do. Best dealt with through a beer and a laugh. A story like this reminds me just how unpleasantly weird and self-important our current masters are.

  7. Sir Alec was the first British prime minister to be born in the twentieth century (in 1903). Somehow he seemed much older then than 60 seems now (I speak with feeling on that last point).

  8. I agree with Malty that Home's period as PM was no tour de force, but Macmillan was a very hard act to follow and then, after a single year, he had to face an election (the Tories had completed a full 5 year term) and a rampant young Harold Wilson who had the political nous to make mincemeat of him.