Walden - Reminisces
A three part series in which veteran journalist and former parliamentarian Brian Walden talks about the highs - and lows - of his career in politics
Brain Walden's career spans decades, with a list of encounters - both in and outside the Commons - that reads like a who's who of modern British political history.
Each talk takes a theme, or period, in British politics with which Walden was particularly involved or passionate about.
The hope is that through the prism of Walden's own experience the listener will be offered new insight into whatever is being discussed.
|01||20041006||A focus on the question of race as it was understood by the House at the time of Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech.|
Evenly-matched adversaries across the floor (Walden was one of Labour's best orators) Brain will talk about his relationship with Powell and tell the story of his famous speech.
He'll recount what Enoch told him about it and what Willie Whitelaw subsequently told him: "Treachery, sheer treachery, dear boy.
He never said a word in Shadow Cabinet - then goes off and shames us.
It's a disgrace.".
|02||20041010||20041013||A look at Walden's tumultuous relationship with the Labour Party, and what drove him to give up his career as an MP.|
He originally chose Labour, he says, not for any ideological reason: it was simply where a working class kid interested in politics would go.
Once in parliament, his reputation as an orator was undercut by his personal loathing of the institution ("I wish I had never gone in the first place").
Having served throughout the Wilson years and in opposition (he was in the house from 1964-77), Walden became a fierce critic of 'Old' Labour and its power base in the union movement.
He'll explain why he eventually quit the party - and the House - in disgust.
|03 LAST||20041017||20041020||A look at the 1980's: Brian's uneasy admiration for Mrs Thatcher, and anger at the Labour movement.|
He'll tell the story of Mrs Thatcher swearing Brian to secrecy about her choice of successor in 1987.
His amazement at discovering it was John Major (then hardly in the frame) and growing realisation that he was quite different from what she supposed.