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A roll call of late 20th century politics

When looking through some old memorabilia recently, I came across the memorial service booklet of Roy Jenkins. For younger listeners, Lord Jenkins was Labour home secretary, chancellor of the exchequer, president of the European Commission, founder of the Social Democratic Party, chancellor of Oxford University, as well as being a distinguished biographer. He was a major figure in post-war 20th century British politics.

The service took place 20 years ago last week – 27th March 2003 – at Westminster Abbey. I was pleased to be able to access tickets for myself and my friend since university, Jonny Oates, who I have mentioned in previous blogs. Jonny is now a member of the House of Lords and has recently become the Chief Executive of United Against Malnutrition.

But, looking back at who was in the Abbey, 20 years ago this week is a roll-call of late 20th century politics – and I’ve added links to each of the notable people, rather than go into detail here.

Baroness Thatcher, Sir Edward Heath and Lord Callaghan, plus the other members of the Lord Jenkins’s famous “Gang of Four” which headed the breakaway SDP in the early 1980s – Baroness Williams, Lord Rodgers, and Lord Owen.

Baroness Boothroyd, Lord Healey, John Profumo, Jeremy Thorpe, Charles Kennedy, Lord Ashdown, Lord Howe, Lord Patten, former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald,

Sadly out of this list only Chris Patten,  the UK’s last Governor of Hong Kong and 2 of Lord Jenkin’s fellow SDP Gang of Four, Bill Rodgers and David Owen are still alive.