An intermittently Liberal anthology compiled by Jonathan Calder

Saturday, June 03, 2006  

Becoming a Conservative candidate
After four years of the Conservative Philosophy Group and by now a barrister, I applied to join the Conservative Party's list of candidates - the first step towards representing the Party in a General Election.

A veteran Member of Parliament, Dame Something Something, who conformed exactly to the image of the blue-rinse maiden aunt, and who looked me up and down with angry sniffs as I answered her questions, demanded what I had done for the Party. Had I joined the Young Conservatives, spoken in Union debates, attended Party Conferences? And if none of these things, what had I done for the cause and in what conceivable respect did I regard myself as qualified?

I mentioned that I had founded the Conservative Philosophy Group. She made it clear that the conjunction of the two words "conservative" and "philosophy" was so absurd that she could only doubt the existence of such an organization. Under her withering stare I began to feel that I was as much a fake as she believed me to be.

She asked me if I wrote in the press, since that at least was useful, and I replied that I had written book reviews for the Spectator, so confirming her suspicion that if my name ever did appear in newspapers it would be in the wrong parts of them. I added that I had also written a book.

"A book? On what subject?"

I hesitated.


Her stare became suddenly vacant. She closed the file containing my application and turned to her colleague, a young MP who had remained silent throughout, occasionally sending out a pitying glance in my direction.

"I suppose he could apply for this new European Parliament thing, could he?"

Roger Scruton Gentle Regrets (2005)

posted by Jonathan Calder | 10:15 p.m.