Cecil Parkinson Dead at 84

Scarfe Parkinson

Gerald Scarfe’s bilious view of Parkinson: All matinee idol looks and smarmed down hair.

Mike yesterday also reported yesterday the death of the Tory politician, Cecil Parkinson, at the age of 84: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/01/25/former-tory-minister-cecil-parkinson-dies-aged-84/. Parkinson was a member of Thatcher’s cabinet and was being groomed to be her successor, when the news broke of his affair with Sara Keays, by whom he had a daughter, Flora. Mike states that this was his first exposure to political sleaze. Mike’s disgusted by Parkinson’s treatment of his lovechild, who has Asperger’s and learning difficulties. Parkinson has supported the child financially, but never met her, to the girl’s distress. Mike states that its because of this callous treatment of his handicapped daughter, that he has nothing good to say about the former politico.

Mike’s right, and the more you know about it, the more disgusted you are with Parkinson’s behaviour. Parkinson was in Private Eye on and off for years in the 1990s because of his treatment of his former lover and their daughter. He was extremely reluctant to pay Keays sufficient maintenance to support them both, and, from what I recall, imposed some kind of weird gagging order on her. I’m afraid it’s so long since I looked at the articles, that I can’t remember the details, but the Eye reported that this had the effect of making Keays unable to claim some of the welfare benefits or financial relief she needed. At one point I think she and her daughter were facing losing their home.

This was the grim reality facing Keays later on. At the time the scandal was regarded as a huge joke. Radio 4’s I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, the antidote to panel games, had this little song about the affair:

John Selwyn Gummer is a name warm and dear,
Isn’t it a pity,
Cecil Parkinson wasn’t a trifle queer.

This caddish behaviour didn’t stop Parkinson from staging something of comeback. He appeared on Have I Got News For You a decade or so ago on television. Ian Hislop said that he charmed all of them. This is surprising, given the way the magazine uncovered and described his lover’s ill-treatment. As for his general demeanour, I don’t think many women shared this opinion of him. My mother and her friends agreed that he looked the kind of man they would not like to be caught behind the back of the filing cabinets with.

Clearly, he was not a man who valued marital fidelity, and his persecution and neglect of Keays seems mean-spirited and spiteful, at the very least. He probably wasn’t the worst, but he certainly did personify to an extent the personal sleaze and corruption of the Tory front bench.

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One Response to “Cecil Parkinson Dead at 84”

  1. sdbast Says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

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