I only met Tony Crosland once at close quarters. It was about 1972 and I had foolishly applied to be a Rowntree ‘chocolate soldier’ 1 with the Labour Shadow Cabinet. The interview at the Commons, with Roy Jenkins presiding, seemed to be going rather well. Tony Crosland was slumped under a cloud of cigar smoke in the chair next to mine, his leg flopping over the side. He seemed to be feeling the effects of a hard night, looked bored by the whole proceedings — and said not a word. Until the end. Then he stirred. ‘So tell us’, he drawled, blowing a gentle breeze of smoke in my direction, ‘how would you solve the problems of the British economy?’ That was the moment I failed to get the job. I have always felt deeply grateful to him.
KeywordsStratification Smoke Undercut
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