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Home > Popped Clogs

Popped Clog: Roy Jenkins

Roy Jenkins - European Commission President, Chancellor, Home Secretary, WWII code-breaker and architect of the permissive society - has died. He was 82.

7 January 2003

Roy Harris Jenkins - statesman, bon viveur, biographer, bon viveur, Chancellor of Oxford University, President of the Royal Society of Literature, bon viveur and bon viveur - has died at his home in East Hendred, aged 82.

His liver will remain as Chancellor of Oxford, attending banquets and college functions until a replacement has been voted in.

Roy Jenkins, once (unkindly) described as a cross between Deputy Dawg and Emperor Nero, was one of the last few politicians who possessed any kind of moral and political fibre whatsoever. He actually believed in things. In 1971, while deputy leader of the Labour Party, he defied a three-line whip on Europe and voted (along with 68 other Labour MPs) with the Conservative government. He later resigned as deputy leader on principle, over the matter of an EC

Then he left the Labour Party altogether to become one of the SDP 'Gang of Four'. He believed in things and then did things according to his beliefs. Precisely like Tony Blair doesn't.

The irony is that Jenkins, for a time, was Tony Blair's friend and mentor, and is widely credited with carving out the political foundations of Britain's 'New' Labour party.

'New Labour' - the name is really starting to reek, isn't it? New Labour is a party so lacking in principles that you could blow it over with a wet fart. A party led by a man with a 'second class mind' (as Jenkins himself so memorably put it). A man whose extraordinary moral elasticity and feeble disregard for political integrity will be seen in its full ghastliness only with the benefit of time, when some Jenkins-like biographer picks over the hollow bones of his leadership.

Rest in peace, Roy. You'll be sorely missed.

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