Looking back Nye, I'm sure you were aware that I spent much of our married life supporting you, my dear, because you delivered such effective speeches advocating public welfare and you worked so hard, and with such success, to facilitate the birth of our National Health Service, not to mention the post-war housing.
I hope that you would be proud of me, now. You used to tease my vanity because I sat for portraits for artist friends but I, just like you did, do appreciate artists and other people involved in the Arts. After all, we both loved to relax from the stress of political life on many evenings, in the house of a friend, in the company of artists like Henry Moore and Francis Bacon.
It is so sad, Nye, that you died before we won the 1964 election. You were missed by voters and parliamentarians alike. I battled on, though, in Parliament and it fell to me to support the Arts, when Harold appointed me the first ever Minister for the Arts in his 1964 Cabinet.
You, Nye, were instrumental in providing universal access to health services and I was passionate to enable universal access to the Arts. The National Health Service looks after our bodies but the Arts can look after our souls. I'm sure you would have supported me in my demands for the Arts council to fund regional organisations and events as well as those in London. We both know that Edinburgh and Cardiff are capital cities too – but music is appreciated in Merthyr and literature in Lanark not to mention Barddoniaeth in Beaumaris!
Perhaps my major success in this field – indeed Harold said it was the greatest achievement of his government - was the founding of the Open University. You, who learned much of your knowledge at the Miners' Welfare Club and from the Workers' Education Association, you understood that it was possible to learn outside the traditional University experience of the middle classes. The OU widened access to higher education to many, whatever their age, experience or previous education, and gave them the freedom to complete their studies in a timetable that was suitable to them.
So now I'm looking back at my personal achievements, Nye, and although I have now sat for a total of 30 portraits, you'll surely agree that my love of the Arts is not a self-indulgence but a genuine desire to promote artistic and learning experiences for all British people.
Tomorrow is the closing date for applications for new post of National Youth Theatre Wales Critical Activist. Please spread the word! Please get in touch to register any possible interest of working with NYTW even if this post isn't suitable!
I shall and likewise I'd like to be kept up to date about your work. I can do Cardiff, tho' it is difficult on a week night. I have school in the morn! I started writing with the oft-maligned Act Swansea & Binda Singh, which was a lot like Script Slam, before the Dylan Thomas Centre cast us out due to a particularly poor showing. Such is life.
I think I replied to this comment, but may well have just emailed the do-not-reply email alert instead of actually replying! Even though I'm relatively young I can be pretty dumb when technology's concerned...
Anyway, I had a little read up about old Thomas Midgely Jr - interesting! Gutted that your 2 major achievements turn out to be so bad in the end!
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