Talk:Edward Heath

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Disputed[edit]

This:

The contrast with the 1980s Thatcher government resulted in Heath acquiring a strongly humanitarian image. [citation needed]

Needs a source before being moved back to the article. Dan100 (Talk) 21:04, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Elgar Heath.jpg[edit]

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Ireland[edit]

I thought I saw Heath admit to some part of Bloody Sunday in an interview in the early nineties. When asked about the Tianenmen Square massacre I recall him saying "Oh, the Chinese just did what we did on Bloody Sunday". There was a moment of silence, and then the interviewer moved swiftly on. Does anyone else remember this? It had a sense of unreality about it, given the way it was handled, and afterward I could never be sure I heard it. Look of horror on his face at what he had said will stay with me forever, though.--Muinchille1

Yup, it's mentioned in one of the final chapters of the 2010 Ziegler biog, along with confirmation that Heath was handsomely remunerated by various major companies for opening doors to China. That said, when before the Saville Inquiry, Heath vehemently denied that the British authorities had specifically ordered the Bloody Sunday killings.

King's School Canterbury[edit]

The article claims that Ted Heath was in the sixth form at King's Canterbury. However, he does not appear on the Wikipedia list of "Old King's Scholars", neither is this in his "Who's Who" entry. Millbanks (talk) 09:11, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

The reference has now been deleted. Millbanks (talk) 13:13, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Infinite loop[edit]

Something has to be done with the "preceded by" in the right frame. It says he was preceded by Harold Wilson... go to Harold Wilson to see who preceded him... and guess who.. Edward Heath. Voilá! no more british PMs in the previous history. Perhaps it would be necessary to detail the predecessor for each of his periods in charge... Regards...--Cratón (talk) 22:53, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Sexuality[edit]

Before we all descend into a full round of abuse and counter-abuse, I suggest we take a step back and discuss sensibly what the issues are and how we might address them. My argument is that the text covering quotes from Brian Coleman and others is fair - it doesn't accuse Heath of anything, but rather draws out some of questions on sexuality into the open rather than cloud them in euphemism. Now I am open to amending this to sharpen the focus or avoid misleading implications. And happy to look at constructive suggestions. I do not, on the other hand, think we need concern ourselves about whether others (Heath's family?) would find aspects of the text welcome or not. Contaldo80 (talk) 10:00, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Having thought carefully about the text again I am willing to accept that it makes unsubstantiated allegations (ie cottaging). I have no doubt in my mind that Heath was a (repressed?) homosexual and it's right that the article covers that issue in some detail as it has resonance for british parliamentary history (as Mrs Thatcher in 1979). Yet I recognise that we should not necessarily assume he was engaged in "cottaging" (at least without some better evidence). I'm therefore content to remove those last sentences. But I still feel the editing issue was handled badly - far too confrontational and too quick to descend into insults. A lesson for us allContaldo80 (talk) 12:21, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

I am sceptical of the idea that Heath was engaged in cottaging, I would go with Campbell that he was probably a repressed heterosexual, but given that there have been rumours which can be sourced it is legitimate to mention them. PatGallacher (talk) 20:38, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

In view of persistent disruptive editing I have requested semi-protection of this article. PatGallacher (talk) 20:51, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

I support that. I'm very happy to have a grown up debate about improving the quality of articles; but I don't see that contributors have to descend to anonymous and vitriolic abuse. Contaldo80 (talk) 11:49, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

This section states:-

"Campbell also pointed out that Heath was at least as likely to be a repressed heterosexual (given his awkwardness with women) although he thought it unlikely that he was "asexual" given how "unrelaxed" he was about sexual matters"

Surely this is a contradiction in terms. If he was unrelaxed about sexual matters, then he would more likely be asexual? CrackDragon (talk) 17:05, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

No, it isn't. If he had been truly asexual he would have been indifferent, in the same way that I am indifferent to sport or Chinese porcelain - Campbell's point was that circumstantial evidence suggested that Sir Ted was "a repressed something" but it wasn't entirely clear what (as Barbara Castle famously put it in the 1970s). There is a different contradiction in his review of the more recent Ziegler biog, in which Campbell wrote that he was "simply asexual" - but I think this is a reviewer's clumsy paraphrase of what Ziegler wrote, ie. that he was asexual for practical purposes, ie. celibate.Paulturtle (talk) 15:06, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Titles[edit]

With all due respect;

Under the "Titles" section, Edward Heath is Esquire 9 July 1916–1992.

The title esquire in British hierarchy is by birth or by merit.

By birth, his mom and dad were good people who raised a great leader. Hts dad was a carpenter and his mom was a housewife. Both good professions.

In the British lineage, however, that is not enough to warrant the simple tag "esquire" (esq)

By birth; the eldest son of the lineage of someone knighted. By merit; knighted or via investiture.

Mr. Heath was not entitled Esquire on day one. maybe day 7,665.

He was not Edward Heath, Esq 9 July 1916-1992.

He was Edward Heath, 9 July 1916-1937.

The One and Only Worldwise Dave Shaver 07:15, 27 November 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jaxdave (talkcontribs)

I know my reply comes very late after more than four years, but I'd still like to point out that there are no requirements of birth or merit to use "Esquire" in the UK. Anybody can do it; it's simply an old-fashioned alternative for "Mr" (with the difference that "Mr" is prefixed and "Esq" suffixed) in writing. SchnitteUK (talk) 17:39, 2 February 2014 (UTC)
speaking of titles, any reason why Heath didn't receive an honor greater than a mere knighthood. Aren't former PMs usually granted higher honors than that?Ttenchantr (talk) 05:22, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
It's just a guess, but Wilson was an MP until 2001. Since a life peerage - which is the higher alternative customarily used for former Prime Ministers - would have made him a member of the House of Lords, it would have been incompatible with a seat in the Commons. And I guess in 2001, three decades after his tenure as PM, it would have appeared somewhat belated to ennoble him, so it wasn't done then either. But I'm merely speculating here. SchnitteUK (talk) 18:42, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
I am sure he was offered a seat in the Lords but refused it as he wanted to stay in the commons, cant find a reliable reference at the moment. MilborneOne (talk) 19:15, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
His military rank seems to jump prematurely. He wasn't initially commissioned as a Lt Col. William Avery (talk) 16:55, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

Sir Ted?[edit]

This edit concerns me. It may be different in the UK, but here in Australia, the standard way of referring to him was "Edward Heath". He was sometimes referred to as "Ted Heath", but usually only in informal contexts. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 09:16, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

He was generally called "Edward Heath" in more formal contexts and this is also what most biographies are titled. This is certainly not a Bill Clinton situation. Timrollpickering (talk) 13:26, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

He was referred to as "Ted" from as far back as I can remember and I'm old enough to remember when he was actually the Prime Minister — Preceding unsigned comment added by 31.54.114.239 (talk) 01:30, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

Indeed, but as per the post above he was always "officially" called "Edward". It wasn't like Bill Clinton, or indeed Jack Straw who are never known by their legal names.Paulturtle (talk) 01:38, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Arms[edit]

I've added Edward Heath's personal coat of arms. I'll fill in a few more textual details as soon as I can track them down. I know they're here somewhere! A1 Aardvark (talk) 23:28, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Opening sentence[edit]

I've been asked by Mwhite to make a comment about this before reverting it again. I think the article reads better when it begins with a short sentence that briefly sums up the life and qualities of this fantastic individual, the late Sir Edward Heath. The opening sentence of the Enoch Powell article begins with a similarly short sentence which extols his alleged virtues in very romanticised terms (e.g. "he was a linguist, soldier, poet etc...") and I fail to see why only divisive figures are worthy of this treatment. Would Mwhite care to look at the Enoch Powell article and edit out its opening sentence, as he has done in the case of Edward Heath? Multiculturalist (talk) 23:42, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

I've made the neccesary edits to Enoch Powell that make it read more like Edward Heath. If you see any other biographical pages that read like that you should probably change them. Falcon148 (talk) 15:29, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

I appreciate that - thanks. As long as your edit to the Enoch Powell article is not rolled back, I will make no further attempt to reinstate my previous amendment to the Ted Heath entry. However, I have a strong suspicion that some Wikipedia activists (e.g. Schrandit and Britannicus) are not going to like your alteration to Enoch Powell. Multiculturalist (talk) 19:11, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Tend to think indiscriminate list of hobbies and occupations not appropriate right at start of article. It could be the Enoch Powell article which is a problem. PatGallacher (talk) 00:19, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

And yet you don't seem to have altered the Enoch Powell article. This is how it currently opens: "John Enoch Powell, MBE (16 June 1912 – 8 February 1998) was a British politician, linguist, writer, academic, soldier and poet. He was a Conservative Party Member of Parliament..." - In other words, exactly the same format (a short mainly positive opening sentence followed by a more detailed second paragraph) that I am attempting to give to the Heath article. Who decides that Powell's introduction should be so positive and romanticised and that Heath's opening sentence shouldn't? I cannot help thinking that this is just a subtle part of some people's agenda (including, sadly, the BBC's) of trying to rehabilitate Powell's legacy and give him iconic status. In contrast, the article on Heath (who was Powell's arch nemesis) has, for much of its history, been largely devoted to smear and juvenile innuendo relating to his alleged sexual preferences - as well as references to "cottaging". Indeed, it still includes a large section on this type of tittle-tattle. Multiculturalist (talk) 07:53, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Re-fighting the Heath v Powell battle from around 1968-74 gets us nowhere. I may get round to editing Powell given time. I don't necessarily disagree with you about tittle-tattle about Heath's personal life, but that's a separate issue. "This fantastic individual" is highly POV. As Heath is a former PM his article will have had more people look at it and work on it, it should be taken as the standard for less important figures like Powell.PatGallacher (talk) 10:12, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

The opening sentence should surely discuss what a person is most famous/important for - being PM in Heath's case ("International Statesman" is really pushing it IMHO). It is legitimate to mention that he was a colonel of artillery as a youngish man, and in middle age a far more capable yachtsman and conductor than his enemies gave him credit for, but they are not what he is remembered for. Ditto Powell - he is mainly important as the politician who made the "Rivers of Blood" speech and may have cost Heath the Feb-74 election by endorsing Labour, not for the fact that he wrote a few poems and was a professor as a very young man, then a brigadier. As for the stuff about Heath's personal life, whether or not he was gay has long been a topic of public speculation and often unfounded assertion, and it is legitimate to discuss the evidence in a reasonably dispassionate manner.Paulturtle (talk) 10:42, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Sexuality again[edit]

I removed the claim about cottaging and the removal was reverted. I believe that an unsubstantiated claim that Ted Heath used to have anonymous sex in public lavatories needs more than one sentence in a blog to justify placing it in this article. The blog was reported in several newspapers and there was never any supporting evidence for the claim. So the only person making the claim is Brian Coleman, and as the removing editor says, most people have never heard of him. Comments? I intend to remove the cottaging claim again unless someone has a better justification for including it. Dingo1729 (talk) 08:49, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

I think you should hold fire for 2 weeks, to allow a discussion of this.
The citations are to two national UK newspapers of different political persuasions. When the Sunday Mirror published a story about Lord Boothby's homosexual activities in 1964, the paper paid Boothby £40,000 compensation and the editor lost his job. If the story about Ted cottaging were true, it is doubtful that it would have come to light at the time. Britain's libel laws would have meant that someone would have to have had extremely good evidence before they would have dared to publish a story about Ted cottaging before Ted's death in July 2005.
Have you considered moving all mention of the 1974 miner's strike to Arthur Scargill and Joe Gormley? The miner's strike showed Ted's government is an unfavourable light, so maybe that should be also be removed. [Actually, the article has amazingly little on the miner's strikes in comparison to, for instance, the rise of Thatcher, so it looks as if Ted's admirers have largely expunged the article of mention of the strike already.]--Toddy1 (talk) 09:32, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for responding promptly, I have no problem with waiting for a while for other people's comments. I'm rather a slow editor anyway.
I'm aware of the vagaries of English libel law, but "if it were true then the papers wouldn't have reported it, therefore we can assume that it must be true" just doesn't work logically. As I read the newspapers, none of them are saying that Heath was cottaging, only that Coleman said he did. Even the New Statesman article seems to be a blog and so not under editorial scrutiny. And Coleman hedges his claim so much, saying a warning against instead of actually making the obvious claim and also using the weasel-word "supposedly" so that if he were challenged on it he can claim that he didn't really say that Heath was involved in cottaging. Coleman doesn't seem to be an authority on Heath, so I think this thing is too flimsy to put into the article.
I'm not planning on editing the paragraph about the 1974 miner's strike. My political opinion is that everyone involved should be viewed in an unfavourable light. I remember, while carrying a candle to work, thinking what a stupid mess the whole thing was. I would certainly agree that the miner's strike was much more important than speculation about Heath's sex life, or lack of one. There is an imbalance there. That would again argue in favour of my removal of the cottaging stuff. I'm not trying to start a fight, but I do seem to be trying to twist your arguments against you. Sorry about that. Dingo1729 (talk) 17:30, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
Biography articles on Wikipedia are often more like love-letters to the subject. This is not good. In my opinion they should be more neutral - so minimising the miner's strike and allegations made that Ted broke the law by cottaging should be including providing that they can be backed by citations. I think two national newspapers of opposite political persuasions is a good enough source for the allegation. I am happy for there to be properly cited debunking of the allegation. Neither sets of citations are sufficiently strong to convince either way - maybe he did, maybe he did not. If Ted of is interest to you, then spending your time beefing up the section that deals with the miner's strike and how Ted handled it would contribute more than trying to sweep the cottaging issue under the rug.
Personally I believe that Ted's greatest positive achievement was the abolition of retail price maintenance. In my opinion, his other great achievement was that he showed by example how not to be prime minister, thus helping Margaret Thatcher to avoid the same mistakes. As Margaret was probably the only good UK prime minister since the 1860s, this was a very great, though unintended achievement.--Toddy1 (talk) 08:26, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

The cottaging allegations were quite widely reported in the papers when they were made in 2007, which in itself is tribute to the fact that the mystery of Heath's sexuality has always awakened an inevitable bit of interest (in my experience, incidentally, gay Tories have always been keen to claim Heath as one of their own). They have also been comprehensively rubbished by every sensible person, not least on the grounds that in all these years nobody of either gender has ever come forward and said "I was Ted Heath's lover". The allegations also got a mention (and a rubbishing - "private conversation with Brian Coleman" he had "no evidence whatsoever") in his official biography out in 2010. So the question is whether allegations with no evidence should be included now that three years have passed, or whether the fact that they made a bit of a stir justifies including them.

It's true that biography pages can get a bit hagiographic. I don't think this one is. The section on his premiership is a bit thin, most likely because nobody has ever sat down and expanded it.Paulturtle (talk) 14:39, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

I haven't read the new biography, but if what Paulturtle said is true then it seems as though we could re-write the paragraph as "In 2007 Brian Coleman started a rumour that Heath used to have anonymous sex in public lavatories. He later admitted that he made the whole thing up." And I still believe that it belongs in the Coleman article, not here. My version's only slightly biassed. And my motivation has nothing to do with love-letters or hagiography, I'm just irritated by the insistence on reporting rumours on what doesn't seem that important. To even quote Coleman from the very same blog "In my experience the only people fascinated as to who does what and to whom are other gay men." Dingo1729 (talk) 18:49, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

Well, it seems as though everyone stopped posting here. Was it something I said? I guess by default the consensus must be that the cottaging allegation is out of the article. It was reverted out three days ago with the edit summary "2010-11-13T12:22:33 Multiculturalist (talk | contribs) (56,907 bytes) (Reverted last edit by Toddy1. It's just malicious tittle-tattle: check out the Brian Coleman article and ask yourself if you would trust anything he says.)" Dingo1729 (talk) 03:09, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

The exact wording in the Ziegler biog is that in "private conversation" with Coleman, the latter said it was "widely known" in the House of Commons that Heath was gay, but was "unable or unwilling" to produce evidence. I don't think this adds anything to what John Campbell wrote on this topic in 1993, namely that Heath was often presumed to be gay but that there was no actual evidence that this was the case.Paulturtle (talk) 10:36, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the amplification; I agree with your summary. Coleman seems to exaggerate so much and so often that I'd be reluctant to quote him on almost anything. Dingo1729 (talk) 15:58, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, folks, but I didn't notice this discussion when I reverted Toddy1's remarks about Heath's alleged sexuality. I must remember to check "Discussion" pages more often before editing articles. I'll lay my cards flat on the table: I'm a great admirer of Heath and think that the Coleman remarks are part of a concerted attempt by the right wing to discredit and humiliate Heath even in his death. It is noticeable that questions were raised about Enoch Powell's sexuality - yet that article (despite being far longer than the Ted Heath article) gives such suggestions only a very brief mention - and very short shrift. I am surprised that Toddy1 thinks the miners' strike showed Heath in a bad light: the reality is that when Heath called the February 1974 General Election on the platform of "Who governs Britain?" he moved ahead in the polls for the first time since 1970 - and, in terms of the popular vote, won that election. When Michael Cockerell interviewed Heath for one of his "portrait" BBC documentaries, Heath actually mentioned that the communist leader of the Scottish Miners had told him he would bring the government down for political purposes. Incidentally, there is little that makes this article at all "hagiographic" - if you want an example of that please check out the Enoch Powell and Rivers of Blood articles, which are full of fawning adulation. I will, when I have more time, try and add some sourced content to the Heath article. Multiculturalist (talk) 21:58, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Are you seriously comparing the debate over Heath's sexuality with Enoch Powell? Whether Heath was or was not gay you cannot deny that there was a lot of suggestions that he was or that he might have been, much, much more than with Powell. I'm not sure why Heath being gay means that he is humiliated and discredited.--Britannicus (talk) 22:14, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
My viewpoint was that it was the specific allegation that he used to have anonymous sex in public lavatories (with zero evidence) which had to go. That was the discrediting part. I don't know (or care) whether he was gay. He always seemed a decent sort of person. Dingo1729 (talk) 05:20, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

re the above: Enoch Powell, whatever he may or may not have done when young, was happily married & a father from about the age of forty. Heath wasn't. Hence the public curiosity. And its not necessarily peripheral - quite a number of commentators, including some friendly to Heath, have questioned whether his solitary nature was a factor in the troubles of his premiership (pushing Britain into the EEC by glossing over the political aspects in a way which was pretty disingenuous, trying to impose Dublin involvement on the Unionists, annoying much of his party with the U-Turn which bequeathed an inflation problem to the incoming government etc etc) and the 15-year "Great Sulk" which followed - openly sniping at his successor in a way which was then unprecedented, although she later imitated him. Not entirely fair - his time in office was beset with troubles and he did genuinely have ideological differences with Thatcher over economic policy and Europe, but the point has certainly been made.

The (second !) miners' strike showed Heath in a bad light because, after the miners could not be persuaded to stick to Stage Three of the Income Policy, he called an election on the Platform "Who Governs?" and lost his majority (received the answer "Not You Mate" as every satirist pointed out at the time and since). Then he was perceived to cling to power trying to do a deal with Thorpe, was literally left homeless for a period and after losing another election was ousted from the party leadership (OTOH a fate he shared only with by IDS in 2003 - one could think of a few others like Austen Chamberlain and Eden who jumped before they were pushed). Again, not entirely fair as he wanted a just settlement with the unions - he wasn't a class warrior like Thatcher - but it didn't exactly make him look good.

Whilst I don't think the article is particularly hagiographic as it stands, what it really lacks is counter-argument, and a fair bit of the unflattering stuff which is now in the public domain, eg. his finances. As for there being "a concerted attempt by the right wing to discredit and humiliate Heath" it would be truer to say that in the late 80s and through the 90s he was loathed and detested by many and probably most Conservatives - seen as a sort of Trotsky figure if you like - and regarded with a degree of sadness by many of his own friends. I've been a Tory all my life and I don't think I can ever recall anyone standing up and singing Ted Heath's praises, whereas the instances of denigration would take too long to list. By the end of his career he was more highly regarded outside his party than he was within it.Paulturtle (talk) 19:03, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Paulturtle, I do not think the fact that Enoch Powell was married with a child is necessarily an indication that he was not gay: the former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe was also married with a child. Regarding what you describe as Sir Edward Heath having a "great sulk", Heath did in fact campaign energetically for his party in the 1979, 1983 and 1987 general elections, as well as in a series of by-elections. The problem he had with Margaret Thatcher was one of ideology: he had the same difficulty with William Hague, though was entirely supportive of John Major (who was more from his wing of the party). I find it strange that Tory Party members were so unforgiving of Heath yet so willing to forgive Enoch Powell - even to the point of giving him raptuous receptions at conference fringe meetings - when the latter actually stabbed his own party in the back on the eve of the February 1974 General Election (when the government was attempting to face down politically-motivated trade union militancy). I cannot help but think that the reason most Tories dislike Heath is because he possessed a basic decency which many of them do not. Incidentally, surely Heath had the right to try and thrash out a deal with the Liberals after the February 1974 General Election? (After all, his party did win more votes than Labour). I also fail to see why Wikipedia should look negatively on Heath just because most Tories can find nothing kind to say about him: should Tories alone define and interpret the contribution made by those who played a part in our post-war political history? The problem for Heath in the eyes of most of his party was that he was part of the social democratic consensus - which began in 1964 and ended in 1979 - and which included people like Harold Wilson, Roy Jenkins, Denis Healey and Jim Callaghan. That only makes him a bad person in the eyes of the rather right wing people one finds among the present-day Tory rank-and-file, not in the eyes of most of the mainstream population. I agree very much with your closing sentence, however: after he gave his final speech in the House of Commons, the Labour benches erupted into applause whereas the Tory benches remained silent. IMHO this was a true tribute to the man's basic decency. Multiculturalist (talk) 10:20, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Regarding the forgiving of Powell by some Conservatives, in my experience they tend to be either strong Eurosceptics who agree with his argument that the EEC was a country over party issue, or those who think the Heath government was a monumental disaster and are not going to look unfavourably on someone who put it out of (what they think was) its misery, or (usually) both.
As for Heath I don't think it had anything to do with decency on either side. Rather it was because in politics internal divides are often the most vicious and the internal Conservative mythology is that the Heath government was a monumental disaster, epitomising values that were subsequently rejected heavily under Thatcher. Europe is the big one but in several other areas, particularly the economy and trade union labour relations, the post-Heath party often defined itself by a conscious rejection of his record. Heath himself was still active but increasingly championing causes that were outside the mainstream of opinion in the party, especially in the 1990s when Eurosceptism soared, and it's unsurprising he became widely disliked in a party that was moving beyond him. This was not a unique case - many modern members of the Liberal Party of Australia have a rather low opinion of Malcolm Fraser who again both came to personify the old days the party was consciously trying to move on from but also has been an active voice of criticism within (and now outwith) the party.
Heath's final Commons speech was, IIRC, focused on his pro Europeanism. Inevitably that was not going to be popular on his own benches - and equally inevitably such a rejection of the current leadership's policies was going to be popular on the Labour benches. Heath was not always popular with Labour MPs! Timrollpickering (talk) 03:32, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Indeed - lots of Conservatives favour opportunity, employment as full as realistically possible and all sorts of other worthy goals, and thinking tax & spend policies, or an enlarged public sector, misguided and likely to prove counter-productive does not in itself make a person morally "indecent". Labour didn't think Heath particularly "decent" when he was Prime Minister. Even the short Heath biography by Dennis Macshane (not a book one could recommend wholeheartedly) makes the point that had he been Prime Minister in the 1980s he might very well have had to implement many of the very policies for which he criticised Thatcher when playing to the gallery.

The "Social Democratic Consensus" was also looking pretty ropy a while before 1979 - whereas previous chancellors (Butler 1955, Maudling 1964) had gone into the election on a boom, Barber (very much Heath's minion) was the first who overheated so badly that he had to slam the brakes on the previous year. The Labour chancellor who followed, Healey, actually started monetarist austerity! Simplistic Keynesianism was already discredited before 1979, although it's unclear whether Heath ever realised this.

Heath’s differences with Thatcher predated the “decency” narrative which he concocted from 1981 onwards. It was a mixture of pique - they fell out over technical issues to do with Scottish Devolution and Collective Bargaining - and bad call (pre-1979 Thatcher appeared to be not up to the job and unlikely to last long in the job). Myths and hero-worship are entertaining, but history has to be based on facts.MissingMia (talk) 16:49, 19 April 2012 (UTC)


This article gives a more accurate clue to heath's sexuality http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/was-there-a-paedophile-ring-in-no-10-mp-tom-watson-demands-probe-8224702.html 86.146.141.174 (talk) 18:39, 31 December 2014 (UTC)

I don't see why you should think that. Tom Watson MP talks of "an aide to a former Prime Minister", and the article suggests that he is referring to Peter Morrison (Thatcher's PPS, about whom a few stories are now emerging) or else to somebody else altogether. There has always been a bit of malicious tittle tattle about Heath in that regard, but nothing substantiated AFAIK.MissingMia (talk) 11:19, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

Pure anti-Heath POV[edit]

As if the tittle tattle about the late Sir Edward's alleged sexuality was not bad enough, I have now discovered the following remark in a prominent position in the body of the article: "His premiership is widely regarded to have been one of the worst in the post-war era..." Oh? On what basis is this "widely regarded"? I have now deleted this nonsense. Sir Edward successfully took us into Europe and in doing so ensured our future prosperity. Hardly a failure. We are told that "a distinguished historian" supports the notion that his government was 'widely regarded' as a failure. But who decides whether a historian is distinguished? Further more, surely only the electorate can pass judgement on whether a PM's premiership is "widely regarded" as a failure. If it is really true that Sir Edward's government was "widely regarded to have been one of the worst in the post-ward era" then presumably the voters would have responded by electing a Labour Government with a landslide majority. Well, they didn't - Ted Heath won the popular vote in the February 1974 general election. There are too many little Englanders editing Wikipedia articles, and they really ought to refrain from imposing their POV on the rest of us. Multiculturalist (talk) 15:12, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

Whist I don't like the tone of the above message (there's no need to be aggressive) people for too long have been using historians opinions as the truth. Don't forget a historian has a POV as well. So I am inclined to think that such a harsh judgement really ought not to be taken so lightly in being added to an encyclopaedic article. Alexandre8 (talk) 16:51, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

If we look at Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom which has details of polls of both academics and the wider public we get a different picture. Whilst the studies & those asked vary, in general polls of academics usually rate Eden as the worst of the post-war PMs followed by Douglas-Home, with Major and Callaghan having risen above Heath in the last thirteen years. (And Brown has done badly but there haven't been enough polls to judge him.) Popular opinion polls seem roughly the same (but personally I don't think it's a question the public at large really give much thought to). So excluding Brown as too recent for some of the studies, Heath tends to come between the third and fifth worst post-war PM.
Regarding public opinion at the time, it's always difficult to compare both polling and election results across eras because of different factors (especially the levels of underlying core vote). Heath's party got the largest number of popular votes in the February 1974 election but of the 44 general elections since the Conservatives were formed, the % result was the 10th worst. At the time it was the 5th worst to date and these figures are even worse if you accept 1918 & 1945 having special circumstances (in 1945 the Conservative result can be reasonably topped up with their various National allies, and 1918 is confused by the Coalition with both Coalition Liberal & other Coalition party allies plus non-Coalition Conservative candidates). It was also the worst % result for the party going solo since 1859. October 1974 saw the party do even worse. Yes Heath's party still got the most popular votes in February but that was because Labour also did badly and the main beneficiaries in both cases were the Liberals - suggesting that the electorate were deeply dissatisfied with the Conservatives but weren't all rushing to bring Harold Wilson back and were instead open to another party regardless of what the consequence might be.
As for the whole European question it's a lot more than "little Englanders" (sic) who question whether the UK's membership has been A Good Thing but ultimately that is probably how Heath will be judged long after people forget the miners' strike, the abolition of rural district councils and all the rest. Timrollpickering (talk) 03:25, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Indeed, and one of the odder phenomena in cyberspace these days is that there seems to be a little cottage industry of people using a somewhat distorted version of Heath's memory - based largely on his Eurofederalism and the myths about his "decency" cultivated after 1981 - as a stick to beat the Conservative Party. Actually, he might have approved, but that's not the point - his premiership has to be judged on its own merits.

There's a useful discussion of Heath’s premiership in Seldon & Kavanagh "How Tory Governments Fall". They reject simplistic "Thatcherite" explanations (that the Heath government failed because of lack of backbone and/or failure to understand monetarism) and accept that he was blown off course by economic events. They rate him highly for getting his manifesto promises delivered, but not for lasting legislative success (health, local government, industrial relations), nor re-election, nor achieving goals (industrial peace and reducing inflation). Getting into the "Common Market" (sic) wasn't his only goal, even if it has proven the longest-lasting.MissingMia (talk) 16:20, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

As always an interesting contribution from you, Timrollpickering. However, it is noteworthy that in comparing the 1974 Tory election performance with others throughout the party's history you seem keen to discount their poor performances in 1918 and 1945 yet make no mention of the fact that the Conservative vote was undermined in 1974 by the re-emergence of three party politics (with the casting of six million Liberal votes). Throughout nearly all of the party's history it's been a two-party fight (i.e. Tory vs Whig and then Conservative vs Labour). Would it not be fairer to look at the 1974 and other elections in terms of the party's vote share relative to Labour's? At the end of the day, Heath won two and lost two (at least in terms of the popular vote) or is he in some way to blame for the electoral system? As for Major and Callaghan "have risen above Heath in the last thirteen years" according to the historical rankings of prime ministers, it is telling that the more time which passes by the better the Major and Callaghan premierships seem to be. This makes me doubt the legitimacy of the whole excercise. At the end of the day, Heath's premiership had the greatest long-lasting impact - for he took us into the then EEC (and in so doing sowed the seeds for the downfall of his successor in 1990). Multiculturalist (talk) 09:21, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

TRP's post does indeed mention that the Conservative vote was "undermined in 1974 by the re-emergence of three party politics (with the casting of six million Liberal votes)" - the point is that they voted for a party who were not allied to Heath's Conservatives, so it is erroneous to suggest, as you originally did, that Heath beating Labour in the popular vote in Feb-74 proves that he was a success. It is not comparable to situations like 1918 where the Tory vote (32.5%, but 46% including allies) was reduced by the fact that in many seats they didn't run candidates against minor parties with whom they were in alliance. In percentage terms Heath's 37.9% in Feb 1974 was little better than Churchill in 1945 when he went down to landslide defeat (c36%, or slightly worse than Churchill's c39% including the tiny Liberal National Party).

Most political leaders' rankings increase a bit as passions fade and memories grow rosier, and this is probably true of Major and Callaghan. I'm not sure why the fact this hasn't happened to Heath makes the exercise "illegitimate".02:25, 15 July 2012 (UTC)MissingMia (talk)

As Conservative Party leader, Heath lost three out of four General Elections. This, combined with the increasing anti-EU sentiment all across Europe, explains why Heath is widely regarded as the worst UK Prime Minister of the last century, as well as the worst Conservative leader. (XavierKnightley (talk) 20:42, 15 February 2014 (UTC))
The above editor is a sockpuppet of banned editor HarveyCarter. Binksternet (talk) 16:56, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
XavierKnightley is certainly either soapboxing or trolling, but it hardly seems worth edit-warring over his remarks. If anyone is really interested in rankings of prime ministers they should look at Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom. The information there clearly contradicts XavierKnightley. But the whole subject seems rather boring to me. Dingo1729 (talk) 05:20, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Beatles Taxman[edit]

Shouldn't this article mention that he was referenced in The Beatles song "Taxman"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.25.172.203 (talk) 16:24, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't think it's really worth adding. Think of the converse case. If Edward Heath made a passing mention of the Beatles in a speech, would that be worth adding to the Beatles article? Dingo1729 (talk) 01:40, 2 October 2011 (UTC)

I think it's worth a mention for the following reasons: 1) The reference is noted in the article on Harold Wilson (not that that necessarily means it must be added here but we might as well be consistent). 2) Someone listening to Taxman might wonder who Mr. Heath is and land here, thinking this is the person in question, but then second guess that conclusion since it's not mentioned. It only needs to be a one-line mention, so no harm. The rationale about the reverse situation doesn't make much sense, and if he did who's to say that it wouldn't have been mentioned? Pop Culture references are the norm, and considering that many people only know of Mr. Heath BECAUSE of the song, I think it's definitely worth a mention. 70.91.35.27 (talk) 16:56, 5 January 2012 (UTC)Tim

I'm not sure that the song "Taxman" is the one source of information on who Edward Heath was - my interest in checking out the article is more due to the many references in Monty Python's Flying Circus, which were often allegations about Heath's sexuality. Because of the number of times Heath's sexuality was alluded to in the Monty Python series, I assumed that most British people at the time thought that he was gay. Otherwise, wouldn't there have been some backlash against the Pythons for the allegations?Jtyroler (talk) 06:48, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, Edward Heath is mentioned and linked in the Taxman article, which seems the most likely place for someone to search for information about the lyrics. I still think it's too trivial to include here. Maybe we could wait and see whether anyone else has an opinion. Dingo1729 (talk) 17:35, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, two people think it should be added and one doesn't, I think it should be added UNLESS more opinions are voiced to the contrary. I must ask you, why is it too trivial here but not too trivial for the Wilson article? 70.91.35.27 (talk) 18:48, 11 January 2012 (UTC)Tim
It's really of no importance at all to the life of Heath, it's not mentioned even briefly in any of the books about him. It also shouldn't be in the Wilson article frankly. Dean B (talk) 11:43, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Well, it's an interesting bit of now-forgotten popular culture. Heath actually did mention the Beatles in the George Hutchinson biog (1970) - in which he praises how musically "very skilled" they are. Obviously gunning for the youth vote, perhaps a little more plausibly than Gordon Brown claiming to listen to the Arctic Monkeys. It's an instant campaign biography, full of gems such as how he drinks his coffee "without milk, in a small cup". Still, his early life was more interesting than that of most politicians.MissingMia (talk) 16:04, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

I think a case can be made for mentioning the "Taxman" reference. It was the lead track on what is regarded by many as the finest pop/rock album of all time, and even if that is in dispute, the status of the Beatles as the greatest rock band of all time isn't, realistically. It's a significant piece of (pop) culture. Shiresman (talk) 13:44, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

LGBT?[edit]

Not convinced this is relevant to LGBT studies, given that the speculation about Heath being gay is not backed up by any evidence. I think the LGBT categories should be removed. MFlet1 (talk) 13:49, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

I've removed the tag. I've been following this editor for quite some time and there's a pattern where he throws LGBT or Atheist labels on people where I don't see any sources to explain such reasoning unless it's stated in the article itself. ViriiK (talk) 22:40, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Titles from birth[edit]

This section should be taken out. Now he has passed away, noone will be adressing him by his title. The section was probably non-encyclopedic even when he was alive. 86.218.93.50 (talk) 06:58, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

Personal Life[edit]

Does the 'Personal Life' section really need to be split into so many small subsections? 'Football' and 'Author' only have a few sentences between them. Sotakeit (talk) 14:32, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Personal/Private life...again[edit]

Once again it seems necessary to talk about the section on Heath's personal life. The only fact given is that he never married. The rest of the "Private Life" subsection in Personal Life is speculation, basically what other people thought about something. There is still not one shred of evidence to back up these claims, which are continually posted after being continually deleted. It doesn't matter if it comes from a normally reliable source. The entire section is still gossip and should be deleted.Princetoniac (talk) 16:03, 1 November 2014 (UTC)

There is no need to delete the whole section, as people often ask "Was Heath gay?", and the answer is that we simply don't know. There is no reason not to mention his claim to have been jilted by his childhood sweetheart, or what his reputable biographers (Campbell, Ziegler) have written on the subject. However, somebody has recently been adding some pretty thin material, based on the sort of tittle tattle which has been common amongst gay Tories for as long as I can remember, and I've done my best to qualify it. The stuff about Thatcher, for example, dates from when she was angling for the party leadership in 1974 amidst galloping inflation, had recently been accused of hoarding tinned food and was keen to portray herself as a suburban housewife, much more "in touch with ordinary people" than her opera- and yacht-loving party leader. And as for the recent mild edit war which has been going on, he should most certainly not be listed as part of a "Gay Politicians" category unless a proper writer comes out and produces evidence that he was.
Actually, what really could do with a mention, as most of the truth has come out since his death, is the answer to the other question people used to ask about Sir Ted, namely "where did his money come from"? According to Ziegler his London house was a grace-and-favour pad belonging to the Duke of Westminster, his yachting was paid for by a group of rich friends and he pocketed large fees and generous expenses from speaking tours, channeled through his offshore company Dumpton Gap. It would of course be scurrilous to suggest that his TV appearances apologizing for the Chinese regime after Tiananmen were motivated by anything other than the highest motives.MissingMia (talk) 17:29, 3 November 2014 (UTC)
As reported by The Daily Torygraph, in its 2014 obituary of Leslie Thomas: "Among his neighbours in the Close was Sir Edward Heath, who lived in an exquisite house, Arundells. Thomas became his friend, and on one occasion a BBC crew making a film in Salisbury asked Thomas if the former Prime Minister was gay. "Gay?" the author replied. "He isn’t gay, he’s ------- miserable!" Martinevans123 (talk) 20:58, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

Substantive rank[edit]

'He was demobilised in August 1946 and promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant-colonel on 1 May 1947.'

I thought 'substantive' related only to regular officers. Or if it was 'war substantive', why did it apply two years after the end of hostilities?
Please sign your posts - On 1 May 1947 he went from a 2nd Lt on an emergency commission to a commission with Honorable Artillery Company, the line in the article about him becoming a Lt Col in 1951 with the HAC is clearly wrong, it appears in 1951 he came off the active list to a commission (still as a Lt Col) in the terriorial army reserve of officers. MilborneOne (talk) 22:40, 3 December 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, Mil. I honestly thought I had signed. Valetude (talk) 00:01, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

Kincora[edit]

There are persistent rumours in the press these days alledging that Heath visited the infamous Kincora boys home in Belfast, centre of a paedophile ring. Surely this should be in the article? It's not so much "notable" as jawdropping.--feline1 (talk) 17:02, 3 March 2015 (UTC)

"persistent rumours" is not encyclopedic, you need a reliable source that not only did he visit the home but that he was up to no good to be of note, not rumours. MilborneOne (talk) 17:42, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't think you quite understand: what is notable that the national press are beginning to print these rumours (citing them as rumours). If there's a new public inquiry on Kincora then that's the only place where the rumours themselves would be substantiated or not.--feline1 (talk) 10:23, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
This is still an encyclopedia and we leave rumours to the newspapers, if something comes of it like an enquiry that specifically mentions Heath then we can look at it then. MilborneOne (talk) 14:08, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Oh rubbish, a scandal surrounding a prime minister is certainly notable and there are numerous Wikipedia articles which note press reports of scandal about dead politicians.--feline1 (talk) 15:10, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Agree with MilborneOne. I am no fan of Heath, nor of child abusers, but it only becomes worthy of inclusion if it appears in a reputable book (as do the personal eccentricities of many public figures) or if it gets discussed in formal proceedings (evidence under oath, or an official statement in an inquiry). Otherwise it's just wild rumour about somebody who is no longer around to defend himself.MissingMia (talk) 23:55, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

Wiltshire?[edit]

Again, these are only unsubstantiated allegations, but WP:RS are now stating that the Independent Police Complaints Commission has launched an investigation into claims that allegations regarding Heath might have been suppressed in the 1990s: see [1], [2], [3] -- The Anome (talk) 13:41, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Worst PM?[edit]

Jersey[edit]

More claims of child sexual abuse by Heath, this time in Jersey, emerging today:

"Calls Made To Ted Heath Child Sex Abuse Line". Sky News. 4 August 2015. 

These are reported as being investigated by Jersey police as part of [[Operation Thistle]]. (Incorrect, see below)

-- The Anome (talk) 13:50, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

There appears to be no mention of "Operation Thistle" in the source you've cited, as far as I can tell. Out of curiosity, what is it? And how does it link to these allegations? – Zumoarirodoka(talk)(email) 14:01, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
My mistake -- the article says Operation Whistle: Quote from the article: 'In a statement, Jersey Police said: "Sir Edward Heath does feature as part of Operation Whistle, currently investigating historical allegations of abuse in Jersey."' -- The Anome (talk) 09:29, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
Ah right. Sorry if that sounded like I was being sarcastic, I was genuinely confused. But at least that's mentioned in the article now. – Zumoarirodoka(talk)(email) 10:46, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Consider Protection?[edit]

I just reverted some vandalism related to the stories about Edward Heath that are currently in thee news, and I imagine that here will likely be further vandalism. I don't know the procedure or whether it merits it, but is it worth requesting the page be protected temporarily? MoreofaGlorifiedPond,Really... (talk) 14:35, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

WP:RPP is the place to go if you're considering protecting the page (and I personally agree that it should be, although it's not up to me to decide). Just make a request over there. – Zumoarirodoka(talk)(email) 14:38, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

Misled the nation[edit]

Lost 3 out of 4 elections[edit]

Is the "Allegations of child sexual abuse" section too long at this stage?[edit]

The section, as of this morning, does feel it's drifting into WP:NOTNEWS and taking up a disproportionate proportion of the article given the stage the investigation is at. I think to keep the article "encyclopedic" probably only the first para and perhaps the first sentence of the 3rd para is really warranted as of today. DeCausa (talk) 09:58, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

I don't think it's disproportionate: most ex-prime-ministers are not the subject of massive multi-force investigations into alleged child abuse, and the existence of so many investigations is of itself highly significant, regardless of their eventual outcome. According to the reports these investigations seem to have been going on for some considerable time before the story broke. What I suggest is to lose the last two paragraphs -- the commentary by biographers etc. -- as these seem to be speculation. The rest of it is based on reporting by WP:RS. -- The Anome (talk) 12:10, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
I think losing the last 2 paras is right. I'm not suggesting that it shouldn't be covered. I just think the word count compared to the article as a whole is very recentist. Put it another way, if it is subsequently found that there is nothing to the allegations how much would it warrant? Probably a short paragraph only. At the moment, there's either a heavy dose of WP:CRYSTAL that this is going to come to something or it simply reflects the intensity of current news interest. Neither should be relevant to an encyclopedia article. DeCausa (talk) 13:13, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
I agree with the deletion because of the content not the quantity; these were just musings and speculations that were not of any relevance to the facts. I.e., WP:NOTNEWS. Pol098 (talk) 16:40, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

|}

Witness in sex allegations[edit]

The key witness in allegations that she would have revealed information about sexual activity denies this Allegations denied(Coachtripfan (talk) 17:41, 5 August 2015 (UTC))

Thanks. This was already mentioned, but I've just added the BBC source you've given as it's more neutral than the Guardian one already cited. – Zumoarirodoka(talk)(email) 18:28, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

The counsel for the prosecution has also dismissed it, information added to the article. It's starting to look more and more like a witch-hunt. Certainly there is nothing that stands up in any of these allegations so far. The account of the supposed twelve year old boy is ludicrous - he wasn't twelve in 1961 according to his birth date, Heath didn't have a flat in Park Lane, Margaret Roberts as he called her had been MArgaret Thatcher for 15 years at that stage and was far less prominent than Heath, Heath did not up sailing until 1969 or professional conducting until 1971 - it's actually frightening that the police are in such a panic about being seen to be acting on historical allegations that they are investigating this when there are so many obvious holes in it.81.141.175.48 (talk) 14:19, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

Performing arts[edit]

I've cut this Performing Arts section as it seems flimsy and unsourced. The only clear fact is that he officially opened a college long after being PM, which is not notable.

Heath enjoyed the performing arts as a whole.[citation needed] In particular, he gave a great deal of support to performing arts causes in his constituency and was known to be proud of the fact that his constituency boasted two of the country's leading performing arts schools.[citation needed] Rose Bruford College and Bird College are both situated in Sidcup, and a purpose built facility for the latter was officially opened by Heath in 1979.

Ben Finn (talk) 08:34, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

One rather suspects he may have written a letter or two in their support as their local MP, but that's probably about it, and no more so than any MP would do for worthy institutions in his constituency.MissingMia (talk) 01:10, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Yachting speculation[edit]

I have challenged the addition of the "appears to have been heavily subsided by rich supporters" as not really encyclopedic we dont do speculation, it either happpened and can be referenced or we leave it out, thanks. MilborneOne (talk) 21:44, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

It also was unsubtly laced with an innuendo of corruption while supposedly saying it wasn't corrupt. DeCausa (talk) 22:29, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
We do “do” speculation if it is about a matter of public interest, of which much in the way of concrete information is unlikely ever to be found, made in a well-regarded official biography to which the material is properly cited. The opinions of experts in the field are as much part of the story as the document trail, and trying to censor the contents of a well-regarded official biography of a dead man by a well-respected writer is frankly pretty ridiculous.
(OK, I’d forgotten that almost any attempt to do more than correct a spelling mistake in Wikipedia these days will attract a tedious fight, vastly wasteful of time and energy, from some self-appointed owner of the article. I’d also forgotten the one thing that consistently never fails to surprise me in the ten years or so I’ve been on Wikipedia (this isn’t my main login) is people incredulously deleting material from biographies that could easily be found in print in standard works about the subject. Let’s leave all that aside.)
Ziegler does not provide exact cites (he has a footnote saying that he spoke to Heath’s crew, but I assume that was about the technical aspects of yachting rather than about Sir Ted’s famously murky finances). He does not say that the information is gossip - he says that it “seems certain”. I dare say he spoke to people who did not wish to be named and I certainly don’t recall the information attracting much attention from reviewers when the biography was published, other than “yep, thought as much”. I certainly don’t see evidence that Philip Ziegler was sued for libel by any friend of Heath’s. Heath was not yet a wealthy man in the late 1960s and this sort of thing (“how on earth does he afford to run a yacht?”) was always pretty common talk along with “is he gay”? The figures are presumably factual, or at least guesstimates supplied by somebody in a position to know, and it is pretty obvious that somebody other than Heath paid for it, back in the day when the finances of public figures were a lot more secret than they are today.
De Causa, Heath quite clearly, like a lot of politicians of bygone eras, was corrupt by today's standards. There is plenty more of this stuff in Ziegler - what can be unearthed about his public speaking/business career, along with a lot of stories about Heath's personal awfulness as he got older. All these things were perfectly common talk in his latter decades. Deal with it. Ziegler says it "seems equally certain" that he did no favours for his patrons, just that he enjoyed being subsidised and thought he was entitled to a princely lifestyle.MissingMia (talk) 22:41, 6 September 2015 (UTC)
Sorry we dont speculate or make assumptions or gossip as this is an encyclopedia not a tabloid, it appears from what you say Zeigler wrote what would make a good story rather then being factual, you say Zeigler didnt have any evidence so unless you can provide some evidence or reliable sources of corruption and gain a consensus here we should not add it. MilborneOne (talk) 23:08, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

Sorry “we” don’t censor wikipedia because “we” don’t like the information in question, simply because “we” personally are not satisfied with the detail of referencing in the work in question, or because “we” take it upon ourselves to act as owners of articles despite not being particularly well-informed about the subject in hand. Nor do “we” bad-mouth reliable and well-respected writers by declaring that they wrote “a good story” or likening them to a tabloid. You need to learn to distinguish between gossip and gap-filling sensible speculation by a reliable source about a topic where the fossil record is not available. This is material which was much discussed in Heath’s lifetime, which appeared in the man’s official biography, and was not challenged by anybody when it came out – we shouldn’t even be having to have this “discussion”. A simply factual reportage of what Ziegler writes (given the cost of his hobby relative to his official salary it “seems certain” that somebody else was paying for it, and a mention of one or two of the now-deceased captains of industry suspected of being involved – if it really bugs you that much a footnote can be added to say that he provides no specific evidence) about this topic should be fine. The man’s name is “Ziegler” by the way, not “Zeigler”.MissingMia (talk) 23:41, 6 September 2015 (UTC)

"We do “do” speculation if it is about a matter of public interest, of which much in the way of concrete information is unlikely ever to be found, made in a well-regarded official biography to which the material is properly cited." Which policy is that from? Speculation without evidence in one source = WP:UNDUE.DeCausa (talk) 06:49, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

No it isn’t, and as is almost always the case in those who like to lecture others about “official wikipedia policies” (a practice I despise for this very reason) you haven’t understood them. Wikipedia policy is to include what “reliable sources” say about a subject. Philip Ziegler is a well-respected writer, and his biography of Heath - the official biography of the man, published by a reputable publishing house – meets every definition of a “reliable source”. “Reliable” does not mean that you personally “like” the author’s take on something, or that you insist there should be hard evidence when there is never likely to be any. “Undue” means giving too much weight to peripheral theories, presenting minority points of view as if they were “fact” or banging on far too much about something which is a small part of the published record - not a sentence or two in the article about something which was always of public interest and which gets a few pages of discussion in a reputable published biography.

History, whatever MilbornOne appears to think, does not consist solely of “hard facts”. It also includes proper and rational speculation by reputable writers where there are questions which need answering and where the evidence is not available. There is no hard evidence about what happened to the “Princes in the Tower” – but their article discusses the theories about whether Richard III or Henry VII had them murdered and it would be bizarre if it didn’t. President Lyndon Johnson’s article discusses his murky finances (dodgy fortune made in radio licences in the late 1940s) and the famously bent 1948 Senate Primary, even though the evidence is both cases is little more than speculation and hearsay. Why? Because there are questions that need answering and reliable historians discuss the matter.

In this case, the “evidence” is that Heath, a man from a pretty modest background, whose employment record is a matter of public knowledge, was suddenly able to carry out a hobby whose annual running costs were a multiple of his annual salary, something which was unsurprisingly a matter of not infrequent talk when he was still alive. Frankly, the burden of proof is on those who insist that Heath was able to pay for it by means which are whiter than white – if that is so he certainly left no evidence of it behind, and on this occasion, the very absence of hard evidence is itself circumstantial evidence that something was kept under the rug. What Ziegler says, and I repeat we shouldn’t even have to be “discussing” this, is that given the numbers it “seems certain” that somebody else paid for it, and then names one or two of the now-dead businessmen whose names were suggested as possible backers. He also says clearly, as a reliable writer should, that there isn’t any specific evidence.

What John Campbell, Heath’s other heavyweight biographer, wrote about this in 1993 I couldn’t say as I don’t have a copy to hand. Now that Heath is dead you would expect things like his murky finances – not just his expensive hobby but also his personal enrichment in old age, which again was a source of much comment, which again Ziegler discusses a bit (because, again, there isn’t a huge amount of hard evidence) and which again the article has yet to address at all - to be discussed a little more freely than they were when he was still alive.MissingMia (talk) 09:55, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

Does Keigler use the words "appears to have been heavily subsided"? Does he name Maurice Laing? Thanks Martinevans123 (talk) 10:15, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

Having quoted his official salary and what is presumably a plausible guesstimate for the running costs of a yacht in the late 1960s, he says "Though no precise figures exist it seems certain that he was helped substantially along his way by rich supporters, notably the building tycoon Maurice Laing" (p166). When he gets on to discussing Heath's lucrative post-premiership career as a consultant and public speaker, he also quotes a few figures there. He is certainly not speculating for the sake of speculating, even though there was actually a fair bit of speculation about Heath's links to the Chinese regime. (p.541)MissingMia (talk) 10:29, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

Thanks. I don't see how we get a more reliable source on Heath than Zeigler. Maybe this material would look more plausible if more of it was contained inside quote marks? Martinevans123 (talk) 10:35, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

"Indeed" as to Ziegler's reliability - it is the most up to date heavyweight biography of the man. Inverted commas fine by me. On the previous page Ziegler also names Graham Dowson (presumably the same fellow who resigned as chief executive of Rank in 1975, aged 52) as another name who was linked to this, albeit in that case as part of press speculation at the time. My copy of John Campbell is in the attic and I've wasted enough time on this already. However, I'm going up to London this evening and I may have a chance to check Hatchards Picadilly (which often has unsold copies of books from over a decade ago) and my club library round the corner. Will revert if I find anything. MissingMia (talk) 10:46, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

Lot of assumptions still being made, still don't see a consensus here to add this speculation. I think we are still missing the idea that this is an encyclopedia not a tabloid paper. The evidence is still pretty thin on the ground basically he is poor so could not afford a yacht but he has rich mates that might want something from him, hum. Do we have any evidence of how he paid for the yacht. MilborneOne (talk) 11:57, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
I would strongly object to any UK politician being described as "so poor", least of all a Prime Minister. But it's all relative I guess. I'd be quite happy to see this suggestion added and attributed to Zeigler. He wasn't a staff writer for The Sun, was he. Martinevans123 (talk)
I don't think it should go in unless it's also picked up and discussed in other sources. Such speculation in one source, even Ziegler, is WP:UNDUE. Remove the innuendo of corruption, and it's only trivia anyway. DeCausa (talk) 12:45, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps we should see what John Campbell says, if anything. Martinevans123 (talk) 12:56, 7 September 2015 (UTC)