Wednesday, July 20, 2005


When I started this blog lark nearly a year ago, it never occurred to me that I would ever be writing obituaries, especially on Tory politicians and actors. Nevertheless I was saddened by the passing of two individuals who were very prominent in my formative, youthful, years.

The first was that old warhorse of British Conservative politics, Ted Heath, who departed for the great-parliament-in-the sky last weekend. His career achievements were perhaps not the greatest. He sent Britain into Europe and troops into Northern Ireland. To be fair, I doubt whether he foresaw the European community would become the bloated bureaucracy it is today or that the militraisation of Northern Ireland would be the catalyst for three decades of bloody conflict. But he was courageous and principled and gambled his leadership in a trial of strength with the unions. He lost and was ultimately deposed by Margaret Thatcher for whom he had not even thinly disguised contempt. He was also a fine musician (eat your heart out, Tony) and a skilled yachtsman. While I’m not a supporter of Tory ideology, I feel that Sir Edward was a leader of principle and above all a gentleman: qualities that seem all too rare in the current crop of public servants.
Sir Edward Heath
Sir Edward Heath 1916-2005

Today it was announced that James Doohan, “Scotty” from Star Trek died at his home near Seattle at the age of 85. I was never a true Trekkie like some of my contemporaries but I did watch and enjoy the TV series and even saw some of the spin-out movies. Doohan was a great supporting actor and contributed greatly to the success of the show. Indeed I think he often outshone his peers William Shatner (who seems to have become much more interesting and highly eccentric in recent years) and Leonard Nimoy. In virtually every episode he would have an engineering crisis with the Enterprise’s over–stressed reactors and would utter in his character’s faux Scottish accent “I dinnae think she’ll take much more Cap’n”. And he will of course be enshrined forever in the pop-culture patois phrase “Beam me up, Scotty”.

James Doohan
James Doohan 1920-2005

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