Farewell to Frank

Frank Johnson, the Thatcherite journalist and wit, died recently at the tragically early age of 63. It has been a bad year for Thatcherites – we lost Ralph Harris and Milton Friedman as well this year – but John O’Sullivan reminds us of the zeal with which Thatcherites opposed the nanny state in the 1970s in his excellent obituary for Frank in ConservativeHome. A sample:

No one present when the TUC’s Len Murray attended one of Bill Deedes’s Telegraph drink parties could have doubted that Frank had digested the full Thatcherite creed. Murray was arguing that the workers in a failing company deserved financial compensation because they had “invested their lives” in it.“I would be a little wary of that argument, Lord Murray,” I said politely, “because if that were so…”

”When the company went bankrupt, the workers would all drop dead,” interjected Frank.

Murray had been one of the most powerful men in Britain when he headed the TUC (Trades Union Congress). Interestingly, I do not know who the current General Secretary of the TUC is. We have men like Frank Johnson to thank for that.