Lord (Norman) Tebbit – Still a Class Act
The Today Programme on Radio 4 this morning had an interview with Lord Tebbit. It is well worth a listen.
The interviewer started off by trying to push Lord Tebbit to draw parallels between the riots of the 1980s and the recent ones.
Lord Tebbit said that some of the reasons were very different.
He listed the problems that led to the riots in the 1980s. But then he quietly pointed out some of the differences this time.
This time, for example, it was “a multicultural affair”, as he put it. In the 1980s, in contrast, it was overwhelmingly black people rioting against a police force they hated.
Lord Tebbit pointed out that some of the rioters this time had good jobs.
And then he dropped his bombshell, in his quiet and measured style:
There’s the collapse of education for example – we’re now producing far more illiterate and innumerate kids at the age of 16 leaving school virtually unemployable.
Much greater welfarism. Much greater welfare dependency. Far more families where, not only – like my family – before the War, where we’d had fathers out of work for a time, but families in which nobody has ever worked and nobody ever seems likely to work – they don’t want to work.
“The collapse of education.” “Welfarism.” “They don’t want to work.” Yikes. That didn’t fit the BBC script, did it?
80 year-old Lord Tebbit certainly is a class act. As he has grown older, his tone of voice has become calmer, quieter and more thoughtful – and is all the more effective for that. The sentiments he expresses are as forthright as ever.
He left that BBC interviewer floundering. Music to my ears!