I’ve just received confirmation that I’m getting old …
The British Prime Minister, at 43, is younger than me!
The British election brings back memories too. I recall first studying in the UK in 1978. The Prime Minister was James Callaghan. There were strikes too. It was dubbed the “Winter of Discontent”.
Margaret Thatcher won the 1979 elections. Many were unhappy with her policies and she was called the “Iron Lady”. For me, she also coined the phrase “Value for Money”. She wanted the public to receive value for money from the public sector. (Are you receiving Value for Money by the way?)
This was also the time of the Falklands War. To be in a country when it is engaged in a war, even if it’s thousands of miles away, is a strange feeling. There is no doubt excitement and dread too. TV and radio was always on.
No, there was no internet.
I recall the losers. Not just Argentina but also Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock, both Labour leaders, tried to wrest government from the Iron Lady but failed. I felt sorry for them. Some said that Michael Foot’s political manifesto was the longest suicide note ever written!
There were rumblings too in the Conservative Party of Michael Heseltine trying to take over as PM, but he failed. Later when she left office, John Major took over. Actually, as often happens in politics, the Iron Lady was pushed out. I remember, seeing on television, a tear in her eye as her limousine pulled away from No. 10 for the last time.
Politicians are humans too!
I’d left the UK by time Tony Blair became PM. Some have said that he was very media-savvy and always insisted on his face being made-up before he confronted the media.
For me, politics now became quintessentially Malaysian.
I arrived back in KL, after 10 years of study in the UK, in 1987. It was the same night as operation Lallang. More than a hundred people were detained under the ISA without trial.
Newspaper licences were suspended.
Not long after, five Supreme Court judges were removed from office. UMNO was dissolved and a New UMNO formed.
Politics in Malaysia is always interesting.
The UK was just a memory. But with a new PM, the Conservatives back in power, it seems like only yesterday …