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3 Oct 2014
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This Sceptred Isle

Chernobyl & the Westland Affair
1986 saw disaster at Chernobyl in the Ukraine as one of the state nuclear reactors malfunctioned and many people were exposed to nuclear fall-out. The effects were felt across Europe and in parts of Britain there was a ban on the sale of lamb that had grazed on contaminated hill farms.

A disaster of a different kind fell upon Margaret Thatcher, her Defence Secretary, Michael Heseltine and her Trade and Industry Secretary, Leon Brittan. This became known as the Westland Affair. The previous year, 1985, the Westland Company of Yeovil, Somerset, Britain's only helicopter manufacturer was in deep financial difficulties. A rescue package demanded assurances of Ministry of Defence contracts.

The confrontation between Thatcher and Heseltine on what should be done, led to the dramatic resignation in the January 1986. From this point, the Thatcher Cabinet was split between a generally sceptical group and a small number loyal to the PM.

Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu
Desmond Mpilo Tutu (born 1931)

  • Desmond Tutu was born in Klerksdorp.
  • His father was headmaster of a primary school.
  • Desmond Tutu studied theology at the University of South Africa and at London University.
  • He became an Anglican priest in 1960 and Bishop of Lesotho in 1977.
  • Secretary-general of the South African Council of Churches in 1979.
  • The first black bishop of Johannesburg in 1984.
  • Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986.
  • He campaigned relentlessly against apartheid even risking imprisonment but condemning violence.
  • He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

did you know?
In 1986 Margaret Thatcher and President Mitterrand confirmed the Channel Tunnel project would go ahead.

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1980s British sporting stars
Robin Cousins
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Linford Christie
Sandy Lyle
Ian Botham
David Gower

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