It is a sign that I am getting old. Another long inactive politician from the 1970s has died. Roy Mason who was British Secretary for State from 1976 to 1979 in the Labour Government was an absurd and nasty person.
In SDLP circles in West Belfast, he was known as Napoleon. He was a Yorkshire miner…who was allegedly working class but he loved beinag surrounded by the British military brass. He loved being at dinners in the officers mess. The military loved him too …because he was a buffoon. He even had a hobby designing neck-ties for British regiments. A buffoon…yes. But a dangerous buffoon. A lot of British Army excesses took place on his watch.
On Slugger O’Toole, Brian (Dimbleby) Walker suggests that Gerry Adams was breathing down Gerry Fitts (SDLP Leader) neck at the time. Not in my recollection.Sinn Féin were not involved in electoral politics at the time.
My own animosity to Roy Mason stems from the fact that he was one of those working class Labourites who was actually a part of British Imperialism.He was a working class Barnsley lad who seemed to believe that the British working class had a right to superiority over the Irish working class.
Somewhat ironic then that a large chunk of the British working class …including his South Yorkshire miners were swept away by the Thatcher Government in the 1980s
The truth is that the British Labour Party might well be the SDLP “sister party” but they have never done anything really fraternal for SDLP. Merlyn Rees, Mo Mowlam, Peter Mandelson, Peter Hain, John Reid, Paul Murphy.
But the worst by a long way was Roy Mason.