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Texas State University

Keith Best

Member of British Parliament
Wednesday, October 1, 1986

Keith Best was a modern-day renaissance man. A member of the British Parliament, he was also a paratrooper, lawyer, author, linguist, businessman, and world-traveler. Educated at Oxford, he taught himself to speak Welsh and piloted light planes as a hobby. At the time of this speech, he had served in Parliament since 1979 and was chairman of the Bow Group Standing Committee on Defense.

Born in 1949, Mr. Best attended Brighton College and Keble College, Oxford. A practicing barrister, he was also an assistant schoolmaster and lecturer in law. He was a major in the Territorial Army, formerly in 289 Parachute Battery, Royal Horse Artillery (Volunteers). He trained in nuclear-biological-chemical warfare and combat survival and served in a commando unit on HMS Bulwark. He has been awarded the Territorial Decoration. 

He began his political career as a member of the Brighton Borough Council. He held important positions in a number of conservative organizations before becoming a conservative parlia­mentary candidate for Anglesey in 1978. He was elected to represent Anglesey in the general election of May 1979, and following redistribution in June 1983, he contested and won the new seat of Ynys Mon.

He was a member of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, chairman of the British Committee for Vietnamese Refugees, chairman of the Parliamentary Alcohol Policy and Services Group, secretary of the Parliamentary Scout Association and treasurer of the Parliamentary Group for World Government. We was also chairman of the International Council of Parliamentarians for World Order and vice chairman of the Parliamentary Group for Children.

—Adapted from the original event program distributed at Kieth Best's LBJ Distinguished Lecture

"It is an axiom of modern life that we live in a dangerous world, and the longer we do so without catastrophe, the more there is acquiescence or at least a belief that little can be done to change the situation. That I wholly reject. We must continue to negotiate from strength but not belligerence.”

“Why is it that humanity which can reach out to the stars, bring pictures of what is happening in one part of the world instantaneously to another, eradicate terrible disease and be so creative in art and architecture, cannot organize itself so as to put beyond doubt its own survival? The answer, of course, is that it can but that it chooses not to.”

“We owe a duty to the memory of LBJ and to humanity as a whole to ensure that those sentiments are pursued until we can achieve a lasting peace and greater global security. I rather think that he would have like that to be his memorial."