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I can't say I really knew Ted Heath
Professionally I interviewed him for Day by Day when he first became Tory leader and twice during The Troubles when he visited units in Northern Ireland. Socially we met a few times at supper parties in The Close, and we had a fascinating lunch with him (hosted by Bishop David) on his birthday.
But of the seven British prime ministers I’ve interviewed (the others were Lord Avon - as Eden had then become - Wilson, Callaghan, Thatcher, Major and Blair) he was the only one who seemed to me to be rather shy. In other words, speaking as a disinterested observer, he never struck me as the sort of man who’d want Arundells (the Salisbury Cathedral Close house he retired to live in) kept open as a sort of shrine.
Heath loved music and he liked kids and I would have thought it was self-evident that he would have preferred Arundells to be sold and the proceeds used to fund the Edward Heath Foundation. It’s a lovely house and must be worth several million pounds of anyone’s money, even in today’s market. So I’m with Rob Key on this (and Rob must have known him better than anyone). Forget about museums, sell the house and use the cash to help struggling young musicians.
There was a gushing advert on Spire FM the other day on behalf of Wiltshire Council (not that there’s an election in the offing, you understand). I heard it whilst stuck in slow-moving – no, make that stationary – traffic crawling along Churchill Way towards the Southampton Road. The announcer was inviting listeners to attend a meeting outside the Guildhall to “tell us what you think we’ve done well, and to suggest one thing we might improve”.
I couldn’t think of any great Trowbridge achievements, but one thing they could do? Well, there’s a challenge. How about: “Replace our powerless parish council with a politically balanced and truly representative South Wiltshire District Council empowered to slash parking charges, reverse Salisbury Vision’s plans for the Maltings, revive plans for a proper by-pass, stop asset-stripping and make this city the county town.” Or does that count as more than one thing?