Welcome to a new regular feature on WriteYou, in which we ask prominent politicians for their ‘Top Fives’.
As it’s Labour conference, we start with one of the foremost figures in the party’s recent history, Lord Neil Kinnock, who led the opposition from 1983 to 1992.
Political editor Mark Leftly asked Kinnock for his top five political enemies and the first three names – Tony Benn, Margaret Thatcher, and Arthur Scargill - rolled off the tongue. He was less happy about giving such an accolade to his fourth and fifth choices - Conservatives who he both “detested” and didn’t rate – but did view as dangerous for the country.
1. "Tony Benn, because he was bright, charming, and, tragically, completely on another planet.”
Tony Benn, of the hard left, stood against Kinnock for party leader in 1988.
2. "Margaret Thatcher, because she was obsessive, self-confident, and in power.”
Margaret Thatcher defeated Kinnock in the 1987 General Election.
3. "Arthur Scargill, I suppose, because he was a fanatic, temporarily with great power and influence.”
Arthur Scargill, former National Union of Mineworkers' President, and Kinnock clashed over the handling of the 1984-85 miners’ strike.
4. Nigel Lawson
Now Lord Lawson, Nigel Lawson was chancellor from 1983-89, and oversaw both a boom-led fall in unemployment but also a huge hike in inflation.
5. Norman Tebbit
Now Lord Tebbit, Normal Tebbit was chairman of the Conservative Party from 1985-87 and an arch-Thatcherite.
“The fact that I didn’t like people and they didn’t like me isn’t good enough to make them top five enemies. Some of them I detested and they detested me - people like Norman Tebbit, but they weren’t enemies of any great dimension. Maybe Nigel Lawson’s arrogance and his destructiveness and his small mindedness – but he wasn’t a great opponent. Anyway, I saw that bugger off.
“There’s a conglomeration of people who I regarded as tough enemies who inflicted damage on our country, including figures like Lawson and Tebbit, but not limited to them.”
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