OBITUARY: Eddie Griffiths

Tam Dalyell's obituary of Eddie Griffiths [20 October] draws attention to his naive maiden speech in the House of Commons, and to his inability to realise that a failure to reside in his constituency would render him politically vulnerable, writes D. J. Stapley. However, neither his continued Welsh residence nor his indiscreet visit to a Conservative MP in Suffolk, reported by Dalyell, were ever more than an excuse and the "last straw" needed to get rid of a man who spoke his mind too openly.

Eddie maintained that irreparable damage had been done to the steel industry from the 1950s onwards by both Conservative and Labour parties who had used it as a political football. He was also angry, like many other loyal trade-unionists, some in senior positions, at the way that the Labour government had set up the nationalised industry in 1967 and had then interfered daily in operational matters - and angry at the way that they had forced on the industry political, rather than commercially sensible, decisions.

After he ceased to be an MP, Eddie worked with me in British Steel Corporation Sheffield Division headquarters on a research project and was, also, writing a book to demonstrate the damage done to the industry by political interference.

He believed that honest criticism and debate could correct the faults in both unions and management in the industry and in the Labour Party. Was he ahead of his time or just too naive? As a Christian democrat, he should never have been wedded to that particular constituency party.

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