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Posts published in “Day: April 5, 2014”

“The most dangerous man in Britain”

carlson CHRIS


It must have been sometime in early 1979. The Interior Secretary and I had just finished our morning review of public and government affairs matters. Andrus turned and asked, “What can you tell me about a member of the British Parliament, Anthony Wedgewood Benn? The British Embassy called to set up a meeting for him with me.”

“All I know is the conservative press has called him “the most dangerous man in Britain,” I replied, adding “I don’t know why but I’ll do a briefing page for you before you see him.” Andrus added the Embassy had not said why, they had just asked for the meeting.

A week later one of the more fascinating figures Andrus ever met was sitting in his office. Memories of the meeting came back to me as I read the news of Benn’s death on March 14th at the age of 88.

A voluminous writer and speechifyer, Benn was long-time member of Britain’s Labour party, but a more apt description was that he was a true socialist. He waged an eight-year battle to renounce his peerage because rather than take his father’s seat in the House of Lords he wanted to sit in Parliament where the action and power really were.

He won a seat from the Bristol Southeast and Chesterfield riding and his native intelligence soon captured the attention of his party’s leadership. He first served as Minister for Industry in the Labour government of Harold Wilson, then as Minister for Energy for Prime Minister Jim Callaghan.

His reason for visiting Andrus ostensibly was to discuss energy policy in the United States under Carter and since Interior oversaw offshore oil leasing and onshore coal leasing, programs that generated through royalties considerable income for the U.S. Treasury, he wanted to probe Andrus’ views. I couldn’t help thinking though that Benn was trying to take the measure of Andrus, that the Brits knew the former Idaho governor was one of the very few stars in the Carter Administration.

By the time he came to see Andrus critics were charging that he had almost single-handedly destroyed the Labour Party (And thereby helped to clear the path for Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party’s rise to power), and Rupert Murdock’s press was calling him “bonkers.” (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Poisoning ravens to help sage grouse (Boise Statesman)
Renewing forests damaged by disease (Boise Statesman)
Otter line-vetoes governor's pay raise (Boise Statesman)
Wolf numbers decline but still substantial (Lewiston Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Students dean Pitman leaves UI after 41 years (Moscow News)
Planning for Pullman-Moscow airport (Moscow News)
Commercial end of Nampa library in question (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pocatello debate over science teacher (Pocatello Journal)
Idaho public defender system still troubled (TF Times News)

Reviewing sale of state forest lands (Coos Bay World)
Home rule ballot issue coming to Curry (Coos Bay World)
Homeless camp Whoville closed (Eugene Register Guard)
Developers at Glenwood financing (Eugene Register Guard)
Klamath Skywest flights will end (KF Herald & News)
Board of directs starts at OIT (KF Herald & News)
Board for SOU approved (Ashland Tidings)
New report on Cover Oregon options (Portland Oregonian)
Pioneer Courthouse Square 30 years (Portland Oregonian)
Open meeting violation alleged at ed district (Salem Statesman Journal)

Debating blame for mudslide (Everett Herald)
Inslee signs state budget bill (Everett Herald)
Breach in causeway could help fish (Kennewick Herald)
New wilderness possible in Umatilla NF (Kennewick Herald)
Little measuring of possible slides (Longview News)
Reviewing vocational education at Seattle (Seattle Times)
Inslee vetoes bill on drones (Tacoma News Tribune, Yakima Herald Republic)
Mudslide help continues (Vancouver Columbian)
medical provision changing structure (Yakima Herald Republic)
Roundabout planned near Yakima Boise mill (Yakima Herald Republic)