Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Romantic John Hayes Talks of Love

Last night I was at the annual Islington Conservative Party Dinner. The venue was the Oxford and Cambridge Club in Pall mall and the guest speaker was John Hayes MP. . I gather he is referred to as Quasimodo by the young bucks ,and you do notice that half of his face is curiously immobile, the result of an accident or a stroke .. I `m not sure.
So, he is not a physically prepossessing individual; but as he spoke I found myself warning to his humour , practised style and glowing sincerity. He started with the obligatory gag about an association even more out of date than ours and moved swiftly on to a ,“ wide ranging “, discussion of “ things that matter “.
He was trying to tell us in about fifteen minutes, what a Conservative is , why it is right ,and where he placed John Hayes in the spectrum . A tall order !
I do not have the notes that I took with me ( I `m at work ), but the word that stuck in my mind was as that most schmaltzy , frightening , embarrassing but important word “ Love”. For John Hayes, and for me, as I come to think of it , being a Conservative is about “Love”. “
He began with reminding us that we joined an organisation called “ The Common Market “ ,in the expectation of a trading alliance ,to protect and grow business . If we had thought we were being mis –sold ,a super state organisation which wished to remove out right to govern our own country, we would have demurred. His complaint was not the waste, although he complained vociferously, it was not the farcical pretence at democracy, although it was farcical. He chiefly complained that there was no love for this institution, and with no love for it there can be no sacrifice or common interest.
As Norman Tebbit put it , with no Demos , there can never be a democracy . Or as Roger Scruton said , We cannot decide what to do without first there being something you can call “We”.
This sense of a country , this “ Love “ of country and its “ people “ , our people , is , not therefore a silly old fashioned affectation , it is the spring from which the river of rights and responsibilities flows .
Well to a romantic Conservative like me ,this was all fine stuff that slipped down beautifully with the fruity white I was glugging .I may even have vouchsafed a sotto voce “Hear hear”, …how embarrassing .
He described the New Labour attack on the family which, as he said , to him , meant a man , a woman and some children. I discovered that we both like marriage so much, we do it about once every ten years , but given that this was what they call a “Key note “, speech, the paradoxes of Social Liberalism ,or the lack ,of it were left conveniently to one side. At this point I began to think, “Well are you going to reform the benefits and housing system then because I `ve heard no mention of it ?”. I fact we scuttled on to what I would call the “ Prince Charles middle eight “ .
There followed a meandering complaint about the dehumanising force of evil that is Tescos , a plea for the embattled farmer ,and a desire to return to the days of wobbly carrots. It was , if one felt unkind , verging on the risible . In it he mentioned a general view on the limits of the free market. The classic leftist example of the Slave trade was dragged screaming for the crypt .I shouldn`t scoff, I have often had to tick off Croydonian severely for his unreasoning quasi Marxist attachment, to the great god “market”. We Finished off with a plea for more social order and less freedom given our “ fallen state “, which , he says , is a state Conservatism accepts. Ho hum……

I am ambivalent about such an Illiberal social agenda and it was rare meat to be sure . Anyway , back to me ...I asked the first question . It was universally hailed as the best and cheered by a clamouring throng ……..( honest)….

“ I like what you say about Europe and I like your approach to the country and its living tissue . I am ,on the other hand, amused at your suggestion that fifty years ago people ate better and were better finer human beings enjoying a wobbly carrot virtually at will . They were not ,they were less literate , suffered from malnutrition, lived for the most part in industrial wastes and had limited access to Taramousalata,
I am, also dubious as to the efficacy of saving farmers from the consequences of their own inefficiency ,or increasing regulation of such fine organisations as Tescos who single handedly gave us the avocado Pear. I am concerned that your wish for for social cohesion, though well intentioned ,will in practice mean even greater regulation and state interference. Isn’t the social and traditional side of your thinking essentially what a Liberal might say and are they not statists who we should oppose ?”

He answered me frankly ,and with great charm saying it was about finding the right balance between social cohesion and freedom . The crucial position was this “. People must be free to behave well “ because they want to “ ; the tradition and love for family and country were what made people into better people. That is the paradox by which the Libertarian and socially Conservative strains of the Party’s thinking are reconciled

( Obviously I am paraphrasing on an industrial scale here ).

He asked me what I though of his answer and I said I had considerable sympathy for it but it was “ Romantic “. He leapt up at that that saying” Yes yes it is, to be a Conservative is to be Romantic “ it is to be against the rational systems of Marxism and in the final resort , markets as well. The market is a tool but it is not the core of it “…he could have added that the core of it was…. “ Love”

Further drinks and discussion were joined by Chris Skidmore who works for two Brains Willets , Arthurian legend and we left in cab at about 1.30.AM

Thanks to all and feel the love people !


nick drew said...

I like the view from up here, Mr M!

Stay with with it for a while ...

interestingly, La Toynbee (leans over to his left and spits on floor) is also very keen on the "We", she says that without the We there is no legitimacy in raising taxes.

She doesn't hesitate to take her own logic to its natural conclusion, she considers we need to man the gates against immigrants & asylum-seekers accordingly (I think she has other reasons for this as well).

I suppose this should give us pause for thought (but I approve of pausing for thought anyway)

Newmania said...

Intersting Nick. I removed the last post as you felt it was silly ..

I agree entirely with you on the Toynbee insight and werror . As Boris says , after all she has lovely place in Italy and sends her brood to the finest schools . Of course we are going to agree a lot.

electro-kevin said...

I have to say I think that John Hayes hit the nail on the head - I hope he didn't suffer any braying.

Our society grew like a forest and the 'love' was inherent. The EU was built like a sky-scraper and we will have to learn how to love it, perhaps we will even need special instruction in how to do so.

(BTW isn't it time PC was called more truthfully Political Correction)

As for 'love' it may seem to be a tad sentimental and soppy: you don't think it was 'hatred' that fortified our boys when they went 'over the top' do you ?

Newmania said...

I think you put that absolutely superbly Kev really brilliant , you are in the wrong proffession!!

electro-kevin said...

Actually I'm thinking of running a pub. I reckon I could keep the punters drinking ... just to drown MY sorrows.

One thing for this Nu Lab lot - our ability to write good blues music should get a lot better.

Anonymous said...

N, you won't win many votes in North London by associating yourself with that old relic. Mr Hayes is a leading Sith in the Tombstone Group. Alas, you will never catch him in the Admiral Duncan or Catch22. Ho, ho, ho!

Newmania said...

He was a nice perosn Justin but even I said( if you note) that his illiberal agenda is a bit much for me

Newmania said...


I woke up this morning
felt appalled at the shitty state of the country...

( Its not working so far ?)

electro-kevin said...

You just ain't paid your dues yet, man. Good blues ability comes after the droopy eyes and the lumbago. Oh, you need at least one divorce and one dead dog in the mix.

Newmania said...

Oh, you need at least one divorce and one dead dog in the mix.

Got that .

I can play a bit of blues on the not really my thing I like the "Get Down and Testify" side of Black Americana

Ellee said...

I would loved to have seen you fire your question, it was so amusing, I can't imagine why your comments are banned on other blogs.

I have seen John Hayes talk too and it is difficult not to stare at his face and make it seem that you are staring at his sloping jaw. But yes, he is bright and amusing too, you have to be in politics.

As you seemed to hit it off together, I would suggest you keep in touch with him in case he can help you promote any local campaigns, why not write to his office how you enjoyed meeting him, make it sound sincere, you never know, you could have a new friend here.

Newmania said...

God Ellee if I had that sort of cleverness about me then i might not be siutting here like Cratchet doing Insurance...still it is a good idea


Anonymous said...

He is a bullshit merchant who has been wiping his arse with old Roger Scruton books since he was born - also he is a crypto fascist and has been since Nottingham Uni.At least the fat c**t is consistent.

Newmania said...

with old Roger Scruton books since he was born....

Ahem I quite like Roger Scruton Mutley..I take it you do not.

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