Tuesday, 18 January 2011

My Five Greatest Men and Women - Part Two and Three

British History has never ceased to amaze me, especially the study of Modern British Politics. The passion and audacity of politicians in the latter part of the 20th Century is something that we now rarely see. The Eighties was ruled by the vigorous and overwhelming Mrs. Thatcher and her great adversary Neil Kinnock, the infatuating orator who bought a divided party of militants and moderates together.

However, although Number Two was a leading figure in the Labour Party's history, it is not Mr. Kinnock I speak of.

Harold Wilson, another great British Prime Minister - The Prime Minister who bought about some of the greatest social reforms in Britain. It is not necessarily Mr Wilson's economic policy that i admire, but more so his policy on issues such as Race, Women and Homosexuality.

I first came across the Labour Prime Minister when studying History at A Level. My British History teacher at the time presented Wilson in such a way that I could fully appreciate how progressive the Race Relations Act, Sexual Offences Act and Abortion Legislation were.

It is somewhat a shame that the Labour party has somewhat devolved from it's old principles. Nonetheless, it is good to look back and admire a man who made Britain a much fairer and progressive society.

Number Three

Those of you who know me well will acknowledge my infatuation with one sport in particular, Rugby Union.

Admittedly, I'm not the best player of the game - in fact quite far off.

Nonetheless, I play the game because I so enjoy it. I love the speed and physicality of a game, where every inch, every centimeter hangs a win in the balance.

However, I have become quite concerned with the sport and the way it is going. Lets face it, Rugby Players are getting bigger and bigger. The game has become less about agility, speed and fast thinking, it's become more about bulk and force.

The voice of Rugby as he is so often called, Bill McLaren. The man with the highland accent, whose voice I will forever associate with that beautiful game. Bill McLaren to me, represents Rugby when it was a game of intelligence and spontaneity.

Do not get me wrong, not all Rugby has taken this form. Many Rugby teams and societies dis encourage the practice of all means necessary of getting bigger. Nonetheless, I was conversing with a Liberal Democrat colleague recently, and he was a keen player in the 70s, perhaps McLaren's greatest era and he recalled the immense excitement of the game at this time. However, he agreed with me that some young people involved in the game are taking it too seriously and endangouring their own health.

I believe Bill McLaren, as a logical and compassionate man, would look down on such practices.

I grew up watching Rugby with my mum (and occasionally my dad) hearing McLaren's voice booming over the game, describing every pass, every tackle, and every sidestep in a beautiful and poetic fashion.
In a god like way, McLaren's voice watched over Rugby Union and the efforts he made to getting young people involved in the sport firmly situate him in My Five Greatest Men and Women.

As stadiums fell deathly silent in tribute to the great man, one could not help but feel a part of Rugby Union that had once lived, had now died.

On the anniversary of his death tomorrow, Rugby will remember Bill Mclaren.


  1. Well, I agree that Bill McLaren was a sporting colossus. A wise man who could speak passionately about the game he loved whilst giving a fair hearing to all of those that he passed judgement on.

    But Harold Wilson?! No no no no no! You mention the liberalising and progressive agenda that occured during his Prime Ministership. This is factually accurate but for me, it is not he who should get the plaudits for this but his Home Secretary Roy Jenkins - now there's a towering liberal colossus of a man if ever ther was one.

    For all his merits (and keeping Britain out of the Vietman War was certainly one of them), I've always regarded Wilson as a rather vacuous leader who had no real political philosophy to drive him forward but who was nevertheless a charismatic media mogul. Tony Blair's political father you could say.

  2. Ahh, of course Roy Jenkins was a brilliant politican.

    And Wilson was not flawless - he did bring the media spotlight on the Prime Minister. However, the Open University came under Wilson and that's something I'm very thankful for :)

    However, Wilson represents Old Labour, a time when the party was at least respectable, very different to the party Blair lead.

  3. We admired his sportsmanship and dedication to his sports. We love him with his attitude and character in every game.