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EDITIONS
Monday, 25 November, 2002, 13:43 GMT
Tory chief's desert island discs
Iain Duncan Smith
'I'm not quite that quiet', says Mr Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith's late war hero father Wilfred was "disappointed" that he entered politics, the Tory leader admitted.

"Smithy", a group captain who flew a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain, thought that politicians were involved in "too much mess and compromise".


I would be a liar if I said that he wasn't disappointed by the idea of me entering into politics

Iain Duncan Smith
Mr Duncan Smith made the disclosure on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in a wide-ranging interview in which he said he "rather admired" people who stood up for their principles.

This is despite his appeal earlier this month for Tory rebels - who voted against his line on the right of unmarried couples to adopt children - to unite behind him if the party was to be taken seriously.

Mr Duncan Smith said his father had taught him determination and how to stick to his guns.

Father's regret

"You make your mind up, you must stick to it and you must back your judgement," he said.

"Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you get it wrong, but the key thing is, you mustn't go halfway through and then doubt - doubt is the end for any decision."

But, Group Captain Duncan Smith was not keen on his son's choice of career.

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe 'propositioned' Mr Duncan Smith's father
"I would be a liar if I said that he wasn't disappointed by the idea of me entering into politics, not in a bad sense," he said.

"His view was that the people that did things were the people that either worked or that were in the Army, went into difficult situations and led.

"His view about politicians generally was that there was too much mess and compromise."

Principled position

Ken Clarke and Michael Portillo were among eight Tory MPs who defied a Conservative three line whip to back giving unmarried and gay couples the right to adopt.

But despite his obvious annoyance at the rebellion, Mr Duncan Smith said he had no regrets about the amount of times he defied Tory Prime Minister John Major over the Maastricht Treaty.

"It was never going to leave me in a sense," he said.

Spitfire
Wilfred Duncan Smith flew Spitfires in the 1940 battle
"Anyone that has ever done that - Macmillan, Churchill - I mean people have rebelled in the past and done so for clear and obvious reasons.

"I don't revile from it all, I'd rather I hadn't had to do it, but I felt I did and think that at the time I was right ...

"And therefore no I am not ever critical of anybody on principle who stands by something at all, I rather admire it."

Marilyn Monroe

During the interview, the Tory leader gave some insight into his family's colourful past, which includes having a great grandfather who started a second family after meeting his Japanese great grandmother.

"I do gather he enjoyed himself and then settled down in China," Mr Duncan Smith quipped.

Meanwhile his father was allegedly propositioned by Marilyn Monroe during his time in America in the early 1950s.

John Major
'No regrets' over his rebellions against John Major over Maastricht
But his son insisted: "I am told that nothing happened, but that's what my mother tells me, so I'm not quite certain."

Mr Duncan Smith, who urged his protagonists not to under-estimate the determination of a "quiet man" said: "I'm not quite that quiet".

"The point about the quiet man point was it was really about the resolution and the fact that people who shout a lot and who say a lot of things don't often do them.

"I think the important thing that I was trying to get across was if I say I intend to do something, then I'll do it and that is something I did get from my father."

Mr Duncan Smith's Desert Island Discs:

  • Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, played by the National Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Mozart's Requiem: Benedictus, performed by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

  • The Blue Song, by his sister Suzi Lyon

  • Puccini's One Fine Day, performed by Cheryl Barker and the Philharmonia Orchestra

  • She, sung by Charles Aznavour

  • Bruce Springsteen's My City of Ruins

  • Great Balls of Fire, performed by Jerry Lee Lewis and composed by Chris Blackwell and Jack Hammer

  • My Baby Just Cares for Me, sung by Nina Simone and composed by Kahn/Donaldson

    In addition to the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare, Mr Duncan Smith's book would be The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence George Durrell.

    His luxury would be oil paints.

  • See also:

    21 Nov 02 | Politics
    05 Nov 02 | Politics
    15 Sep 02 | England
    11 Oct 02 | Politics
    10 Oct 02 | Politics
    10 Oct 02 | Politics
    10 Oct 02 | Politics
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