Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Anne Crossman

An interesting obituary of the widow of Cabinet minister Richard Crossman is here: Crossman

I was never a great fan of Richard Crossman, but paradoxically I am the person who has to make decisions about access to his papers, including the Crossman diaries which caused such a storm when he attempted to publish them. These were the days before freedom of information was really accepted to the still limited extent that it is today. I think that one of his greatest legacies is the posthumous contribution that he made to this debate and it was here that the determination of his widow to see the diaries published was so important.

I would like to pay tribute to the way that Anne Crossman helped us at the Modern Records Centre at Warwick with the Crossman archive. Link to the Archive collection here: Crossman

John Biffen, who was a very cerebal Conservative, contested Crossman's safe seat at Coventry at an early stage of his political career. The slogan the local Conservatives came up with was 'Vote for Biffen - not an intellectual.'

I am also told that in the early days of Warwick University Crossman as a Cabinet minister, at a time when Labour was unpopular with many students because of the Vietnam War, would come and talk in a very relaxed and informal way to students in the 'Airport Lounge.'

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