Friday, May 29, 2009

I'll Tell You What's Wrong With This World Steward

One of the great delights about reading old newspapers is that you know how the story ends. Take the above example which comes from the Times of 10th January 1957. Sir Anthony Eden had just resigned as Prime Minister in the wake of the disastrous Suez campaign. He was worn out and ill and the day after he resigned he set sail on a cruise ship to New Zealand in search of a complete rest. As the ship sailed to the antipodes, Eden struck up a friendship with his young cabin steward and they often talked long into the night about politics. Eden eventually recovered from his immediate illness and lived for another 20 years, although he was never again a well man. Nor did he ever return to any political career. Which is more than can be said of the young cabin steward - a lad from Hull called John Prescott. He went on, of course, to become Deputy Prime Minister in the Blaire Government. I will make a point of having a chat with my cabin steward when I get on the boat next week : who knows what he or she might end up becoming.

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