Friday, January 27, 2017

Tam Dalyell RIP

Tam Dalyell, who was MP for West Lothian and then Linlithgow for a combined period of 43 years and ultimately became father of the House of Commons has died at the age of 84.

He was a man of the most extraordinary contradictions who will probably best be remembered for first posting what became known as the "West Lothian Question" about devolution, of which he was a passionate opponent.

I totally disagree with his views on a great many issues, and it is only the wish to obey my own rules about obituary posts which prevents me from expressing that thought in intemperate language.

However, few even among his worst enemies would deny that he combined great independence of mind with enormous moral courage and a great deal of integrity.

His views were his own, never fitting neatly into any category, and nothing in the world could stop him expressing them.

I suspect his parliamentary colleagues, those like him who sat on the Labour benches or those who were members of any other party, would disagree about which issues he was right about and which issues he was wrong about.

But I also suspect that few of them would disagree with the following description: he was wrong on many things and when he was badly wrong be could be almost unhinged, but when he was right he was magnificent.

The House of Commons was poorer when he retired from it, and our country too.

Rest in Peace.

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