21 July 2022
A Decent Tory?
Must be some mistake
by Don Urquhart
The Conservative leadership candidates are being whittled down. Most of my friends vote Conservative. It does not make them bad people. They have different priorities from me. But I look at the candidates and find it difficult to like any of them apart from Tom Tugendhat. I have no interest in criticising the other candidates but it disturbs me that I find Tom T a good egg.
It could be that we have something in common.
One of my first jobs involved playing darts down the pub in a clubbable manner. Ron was down there one evening. I was in awe of him. He was a world expert on something called CICS, an IBM software product crucial to their big machine business. We had a long chat and I was quite chuffed to be getting on well with one of our firm’s top chaps. Ron drew a breath.
I like you Don. Do you know why?
Shook my head.
Because you’re a real know nothing.
Now this could have had many meanings, but Ron and I have been friends for many years and I still make it a point never to interrupt him when he is holding forth on things that really matter. Of course it does not do wonders for one’s self-image to be treated as an ignoramus but I can always reflect on the excellence of my spelling when tempted to put my head in the oven.
This might explain why, when watching the Conservative Leadership hustings I was drawn to Tom Tugendhat. For clearly he is cut of a different cloth from the other contenders. Most telling was his statement on the National Insurance increase. He pointed out that although the other 4 now wanted to reverse it, he was the only contender who had not voted for it in the first place and to Rishi Sunak he could say:
You and I discussed it and you said you had to do it because the boss wanted it.
Like me among the computer buffs, Tom is completely out of his depth among the smart political operators (others might say rats in a sack) sharing the stage.
He is a Tory and would probably have been no better or worse than the others as Prime Minister but he gave the impression of being less rehearsed and triangulated than the others. I can imagine Sir Humphrey having to drag him back to reality by telling him how brave his decisions were.
And in contemplating rejection by his fellows he can reflect on a fine military record to keep his amour-propre intact.
Spot the Tory leadership candidate in this line-up.