I was privileged last night to attend this event at St John's Smith Square. A number of speakers, some of them good. Although he sat on the cross benches, Lord Harris will forever be identified with the evolution of Thatcherite economic policies. Geoffrey Howe, Norman Tebbit and Neil Hamilton (enjoying his billing as 'former MP' rather than 'disgraced former MP' as I expect he is more usually introduced) were on the platform. Norman drew a huge round of applause by offering to light-up on stage 'even though I don't smoke'. Ralph Harris was of course Chairman and President of FOREST from 1987 until his death. Mrs Thatcher too frail to speak but she gave a big smile for the cameras. Ralph Harris was right on the button on a number of things. This is one of my favourites:
Alas, you need government, but big government is subject to such flaws, such incorrigible flaws. Big government is irresponsible government because they can't know all the circumstances of the nation, the society, the families that they are administering. Big government leads to all kinds of deals, backstage deals about policies, and all the time they are governed not by the public interest, but by the self-interest of the politicians to maintain their power. You need politicians, but the more you can contain politicians to the central tasks they have to do, the less you tempt them into this vote-grabbing, this corruption and deceit which is inseparable from modern, mass, undiscriminating democratic politics.
Amen to that.