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Mick Temple's Blog



Think our universities are hotbeds of radical leftie thinking? Think again. Professor Mick Temple names his five fave political icons - and Maggie and Supermac are among them.

It's been a relatively slow week for British politics and I really can't think of anything to say - so I'm taking the columnist's easy way out. Yes - it's LIST time!

(Voices off) What about Jacqui Smith and David Miliband's pathetic performances this week? America is girding its loins for war with Iran - surely that's a serious subject you could get your teeth into? Don't Smith, Miliband and Uncle Sam deserve a kicking?

Well, yes they do deserve a kicking, but nothing I write about any of them will make a ha'penny's worth of difference. In fact, let's be honest, nothing I write about anything will make a difference - but that's never stopped me from mouthing off before. I'm just not in the mood this week because the state of English football has been torturing me more than anything in politics.

Anyway, back to the list - five politicians I admire (in no particular order). By the way, I meant to list ten of them but ran out of names after number four. And - strangely, I disagree with the policies and principles of ALL of them.

Barry Goldwater - an intelligent man who stuck to his principles and was eviscerated by the American media in 1964 - 'in your guts you know he's nuts' - who was worth any number of LBJs.

Margaret Thatcher - she changed British society more than any other prime minister (with the possible exception of Clement Attlee, but he's too boring to get into my list) - and did it against opposition from ALL quarters (including her own party).

Alan Clark - his diaries are great fun. I disagree with almost everything he stood for, but he was his own man throughout - and anyone who can contemplate pissing from his office window over the 'plebs' passing on Whitehall deserves applause.

Harold Macmillan - the last successful part-time politician - if only more today took Macmillan's lead and went off for 3 months in the summer (and didn't make a fuss when their wife was shagging another Conservative MP), the world would be a safer place.

Oh my God, I'm a fan of right wing icons! So, to redress the balance ....

Augustus Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton - Whig PM from 1768-70 - I know nothing about him but I love the fact that his nickname is the 'Turf Macaroni' - although George Canning, 'the Zany of Debate', comes close (thank you Guardian wallchart).

Finally, my favourite political figure of all time is not a politician - he was a bureaucrat and political tactician, an early spin doctor if you like. Niccolo Machiavelli wrote the best book ever about politics - because it is the most truthful. Despite being 500 years old, The Prince is still worth reading.

Which is more than one can say about the diaries of one of his disciples, Alastair Campbell.

Name you fave five politicians. Join the discussion on our Message Board.

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