Wednesday, February 29, 2012

From Power to Prison to Peace...

... the subject of a recent talk at the Catholic Writers' Guild. Speaker was Jonathan Aitken. It was spot-on - downbeat,thoughtful, honest, delivered with humour and insight.Nothing trite, nothing smug or insincere. The gifts that took him soaring up in public life are still hugely apparent.

Years and years ago, there was a big meeting organised in London by Lord Longford, on the theme "The crisis in our country - what can we do about it?" It was a typically well-intentioned Lord Longfordian sort of excercise - various people, all really unconnected, brought together in a spirit of general goodwill with the idea that together we something about the economic, social, and spiritual decline of the nation. This was the late 1970s.I had been invited with some other representatives of youth and community organisations. A number of people, including the excellent Mary Whitehouse, spoke rather well about the spiritual state of things and the need to support marriage, family, and community values. Then a young v. good-looking chap came to the rostrum. He was a Member of Parliament and his contribution was to be on economic matters. "Today many people have spoken, very movingly, about God" he said "I am here to talk about Mammon..." That was Jonathan Aitken. And now here he is in 2012 speaking about God.

I was at that meeting back in the 70s, and at the Guild meeting the other day I was asked to give the tote of thanks and was able to bring the two events together...

If you get the chance to hear Jonathan Aitken speak, seize it. I think he is doing good work.

1 comment:

johnf said...

I read some years ago that when Jonathan Aitken was Under Secretary of State at the MOD, he invited Harold Wilson and Mary into his office for tea. He always had a regard for Wilson and had a portrait of him hung in his office.

By then poor Wilson was in the throes of dementia and was rather bewildered by it all.

At the time I thought it was a gracious gesture and was very sorry when Aitken subsequently got disgraced. Still he has picked himself up again.