Fight for the Tory leadership
BY attacking the Tory leadership—although he was circumspect enough not to name Mr. Heath—Mr. Edward du Cann has ripped off the bandages that were at least concealing, if not healing, the Conservative head wounds. We are, alas, now in for another long operation by the political correspondents and pundits as they dissect in public the character and chances of potential successors to Heath.
We are going to hear much of Enoch Powell, but at the end of it all Mr. Heath will still be there for the simple reason that while the romantic Tories may pretend that they like a leader with fire in his belly they are realistic enough to know that fire can burn as well as gain votes.
How many Tory Prime Ministers can you remember in modern times with a fire in his belly? Don't say Churchill because he came to power despite the Tory Party and gave many of them a bellyache that still rumbles.
I agree with du Cann about what he calls "pat-a-cakepolitics" but his own speech was an example of it. If he wants "crash-wallop" politics he should have criticised Heath by name and not by inference.
BISHOP CASHMAN'S interview with Kevin Mayhew in the CATHOLIC HERALD last week brought the bishop bang into the national Press on Monday. There was a glorious bag of headlines as the sub-editors of Fleet Street rose to the occasion: "Bloodthirsty" Bishop angers Catholics (The Sun).
A Hunting Bishop's "Bloodlust" sets off a storm (Daily Mirror).
R.C. Bishop says: The nearest thing to heaven is shooting a bird (Daily Mail).
Shooting is Heaven, says the Pigeon-potting bishop (Daily Express).
Bloodsport Bishop angers animal lovers (Daily Telegraph).
Bishop Cashman had said in the HERALD interview that he was mad about shooting. "I've got a blood lust in my veins." Waiting for a bird to come over his gun was the nearest thing to Heaven in human terms that he knew.
What I found so refreshing about the whole interview was its honesty of expression, and I also liked the honesty of the Bishop in not trying to make out that he had been misquoted or misunderstood when the national Press raised the shooting matter with him. Politicians and others please note.
I cannot really understand what all the fuss is about. If a bishop wants to shoot why shouldn't he? If Bishop Cashman spent his leisure hours shooting foxes — or progressives — I would be prepared perhaps to take a sterner view of the issues.
I suspect, however, that there is a strong element of class involved. Shooting is largely an upper-class occupation, therefore it is wrong and not respectable in a democratic age. Fishing — a more cruel sport and infinitely more boring — is O.K. because all classes indulge in it. I say all this without prejudice. I have never shot a bird nor slowly lacerated a fish's mouth with an ugly hook and furthermore I don't intend to start.
Arguments among Catho lics over the ethics of shooting and fishing will, I am afraid, continue until the end of time. Perhaps we should have an encyclical banning all blood sports, including fishing. If we did then we really N:vould have a "crisis of conscience" and not least among the conservative clergy.
MALCOLM MUGGER IDGE contends that politicians are actors playing themselves. I disagree. The next time that Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate for the American Presidency, comes on your television screen take a close look at him. Humphrey, the politician, doesn't exist. It is really Bob Hope masquerading as a politician in a deplorable comedy entitled "The Road to the White House."