The & now: Tarzan's turn

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15 October, 1981: Michael Heseltine, Secretary of State for the Environment, wins a standing ovation from delegates to the Conservative Party conference at Blackpool with the following rousing words:

'I come from South Wales. This nation is still suffering from the legacies, from the folklore and from the memories of those bitter inter-war years. They have fuelled a venom in the Labour Party and in the trade unions that has set back our industrial society almost beyond redemption.

'This is the great challenge for our party, for we alone believe in politics as a process of healing, of drawing together and building on common strengths . . . Few of us can remember such testing times for this nation . . .

'We are reaping the whirlwind of all our yesterdays. Decade after decade we have denied our industry the climate for sufficient innovation and investment . . . We have, too often, squandered our inheritance . . .

'There will be no recovery without more resources. Preferably those resources will be in the form of investment from the private sector or from the better use of existing public programmes. But if the case can be made it may also be from extra public expenditure.

'You will say to me 'What of the wreckers?' . . . Every generation has its wreckers . . . but our faith has always told us that one cannot sow the seeds of discontent on a stable society. They can flourish only if they find stable ground. Our politics and our policies must deny that fertile ground.'

October 1992: Michael Heseltine, President of the Board of Trade, approves the closure of 31 pits putting 30,000 men out of work.