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Clarke on mobile phones, jogging and Ted Heath

Picture 11 Ken Clarke repeats his belief that higher taxation on business should be avoided in a recession.  The Shadow Business Secretary tells the FT: "I do think if you’re looking for tax increases in a recession, it’s obvious that you don’t look in the first place to business."  Watch the FT video in which Mr Clarke explains why he returned to the frontbench and why he opposes Whitehall reorganisations.

Mr Clarke also uses the interview to polish his reputation as a fully-paid up member of the blokes club:

  • Ken Clarke on computers: "My middle-aged children regard me as hopeless on this subject. I realise it’s a generation thing. I just foolishly refuse to adapt to modern technology. It is one of my foibles as a grumpy old man. I actually do think it’s an inefficient way of operating and that I do find it easier to manage things without people expecting to be able to pester me by mobile phone and BlackBerry and everything else... I do live surrounded by people who are never off the blasted mobile phone and I do think it’s a distraction. I will confess to being an old fogey on modern technology. I think the reason the efficiency of the average office and bureaucracy has deteriorated is because they’re obsessed with information technology and gadgetry."
  • Ken Clarke on physical exercise: "I avoid all unnecessary exercise, apart from walking around bird-watching. No, no. Very dangerous at my age to do that kind of thing. They say politicians should never make jokes with journalists but my after-dinner speech joke is jogging is for people who are not intelligent enough to watch breakfast television."


Heath-long His quote on Edward Heath is also interesting:

"I’m still in favour of a right of centre, free market, socially enlightened, modernised and “keep up with the ever-faster change of events” party. I think that was Heath. Heath was more pro-European than me. Hardly any British politicians I’ve known were genuinely federalist but I think Heath was. Heath used to tick me off by talking about a union of nation states and we used to have arguments. I did believe the building block of Europe was nation states and he thought the nation states had had its day. So, he was in more than me. But the Europeanism is all part of this."

Tim Montgomerie


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