What they said then and what they're not saying now

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While the cheers for the President continued from the many, last week there was deafening silence from a few: the British Tory politicians who had long continued to call Mandela a "terrorist".

Lady Thatcher, given the chance to update her comment that "the ANC is a typical terrorist organisation", stayed uncharacteristically mum. "She's got a number of important meetings," her office said.

John Carlisle, the MP for Luton North, was out of the office at meetings and unavailable to discuss his 1990 comment: "This hero worship is very much displaced."

Terry Dicks, the MP for Hayes and Harlington, normally eminently reliable for a quote, did not reply to our message. When Mr Mandela once refused to meet the then Mrs Thatcher, it was Mr Dicks who asked: "How much longer will the Prime Minister allow herself to be kicked in the face by this black terrorist?"

Teddy Taylor, MP for Southend East, was not sure he had said some of the uncomplimentary things he was once quoted as saying about Mr Mandela.

So in the absence of a reply from any of the erstwhile doubters, the cheers prevail.

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