Politics 3

Merely to have a parcel with over £6 in stamps on it is a thrill – or else a cause for bemoaning what the £ has come down to. (The whole news of Britain’s economic state refills me with gloom every time I open a Guardian. Mrs. T appears to be as dictatorial and as wrong-headed as our miserable man.)

Big marches and demonstrations yesterday for Hiroshima day – especially as we have a USA nuclear cruiser on a visit at present, which many people object to. I decided to spend a couple of hours writing a letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs instead of marching. He assumes that we all want a treaty with USA under which we can be defended with nuclear missiles – and that those who suggest that the USA might stop making the things and even dismantle a few hundred to show willing to the Russians are a sort of unilateralist lunatic fringe. It irritates me when politicians misrepresent what dissenters to their policies say in order to dismiss them without really thinking out an answer! But I wrote a nice polite letter, on the whole.

We have found the Korean airliner business distressing – not least because American protests seem to protest too much – and gradually bits of news leak out to show that maybe there is more in the Russian spy-plane argument than meets the eye e.g. a genuine confusion of 2 planes and even perhaps a deliberate use by an American recce plane of the Korean plane to hide itself and get away. In the war the bombers used to drop metal strips which were called ‘Window’ to confuse enemy radar and it would be interesting to know what the latest developments on hiding in the sky were. Meanwhile the Cruise talks are held up, and that is the worst aspect of the situation.

I wrote a week ago to the Minister for Energy who is a rather brash young man complaining because the Government has appointed a ‘Commission for the Future’ which is trying to get people to discus what sort of a country they would like to have, and before they can get any results he is selling the pass by entering into enormous contracts with firms overseas to build a second smelter for aluminium, and various other large industrial plants.

They opened the new Town Hall about ten days ago and one of the ceremonies was to get Ted Heath across the world to give the first major speech. They broadcast it on TV so perhaps it didn’t matter so much that they only filled about a third of the seats for the occasion. We thought he was brilliant. Spoke for an hour, to the minute, without a note in front of him and was really interesting about recent history such as the Marshall plan, the first Bretton Woods and so on – but the relevant thing about it was his plea for moderation and a continued readiness to negotiate .

[and to show you can’t please all of the folk all of the time]

I was v. surprised old Wilson got back in – tho’ Edward Heath is enough to put anyone off the Conservatives – I don’t envy anyone in power at present.