Thursday, March 17, 2005

Lady Callaghan

Lady Audrey Callaghan, wife of the former British Prime Minister James Callaghan, has died aged 91.

She was a tough lady. When I was election agent for the Labour Party in Cardiff North but a member of Jim's constituency association which was very concerned about his actions with respect to Cardiff, she took her husbands critics on and was very tough cookie to deal with indeed. She was also, in her own way, a real contributor to the party - being her husbands strength. She raised significant funds for charity and was innovative in the way she did this. She will be missed and I suspect Lord Callaghan has a broken heart. Though appearing as a pragmatist, he is in fact a romantic.

When Callgahan lost the election, I was in the room when peerage were under discussion. Sir Julian Hodge wanted one, the question was "what's in it for the party". Answer: donation.
It was all very sordid. At one point Lord Tonypandy (George Thomas) said to Jim - "reminds me of Lloyd George all this" and it was very much a strange and unreal moment in Labour party history.

Callaghan himself always presented himself as a decent kind of guy just trying to do an honest job. But he didnt hesitate to put special branch onto those of us who opposed him.

But today, I am all sympathy for him - he will experience a great loss. He daughter, Lady Jay (who I also knew before she was elevated to the peerage), will also miss her too. She modeled many aspects of her thinking on her mum.

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