Tuesday, 2 April 2013


From time to time, I will be writing about different Conservatives that have changed the world for the better. There are people that are more expert than I on the lives and times of these amazing people, so whilst you won't find an exhaustive biography here, you will find a small, colourful vignette or two from the tapestry of their extraordinary lives. If you have an anecdote, story or picture that you would like me to add, I will be pleased to consider your submissions via the comment section.

by Colin Bloom

Like many people in the UK who are now north of 40 years old, I recall with massive fondness the latex puppetry of Luck and Flaw in the riotous Sunday night comedy Spitting Image. Like all politicians, left or right, Ronald Reagan's every foible was exaggerated to make him a grotesque of comic brilliance. 

Such is my admiration for 'the Gipper' that amongst the Reagan memorabilia in my possession, I have hanging somewhere in Bloom towers my cherished and original 1984 Reagan re-election poster. A piece of political hardware that helped propel my hero to a landslide victory, winning 49 of the 50 States, with 59% of the popular vote. Compare that to Barack Obama, who managed 28 states and 53% and 26 states and 51% in 2008 and 2012 respectively. In fact there hasn't been a President as popular since Richard Nixon's re-election in 1972. Yes, we often forget just how popular Tricky Dicky was during his second term, and I suspect that he may well, in time, find his way into this series before long.

There are many things that set Reagan apart for me, such as his 1987 Berlin Wall speech to Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!" Or the fact that shortly after being shot, (the bullet ending up just an inch from the President's heart), and despite being 70 years young, despite the pain he insisted on walking unaided into the hospital before collapsing in the emergency room. In fact I think it was Reagan who quipped in one the 1984 televised debates that he '...would not be making age an issue in this election, not wanting to exploit for political purposes the youth and inexperience of his opponent.' 

From start to finish Reagan was a consummate performer, from his years as a Hollywood actor, he was a man who knew the power of using his environment to create theatre, to create a narrative out of what he did or how he appeared rather than by just what he said. This was the man who met Gorbachev at a summit in Switzerland on a freezing day, looking tanned and with no overcoat, he bounced down the steps warmly greeted his Russian counterpart who was wearing a thick grey coat and hat and in front of the world's media, he made the younger Russian look like he was the 70 year old and Reagan the spritley 50 year old. Genius.

There is much more to say about the 40th President of the United States, and I'll be posting more in the near future. In the meantime please send me your ideas for other Conservatives that changed the world, and your Ronald Reagan stories.

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