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Jerry Hayes

Hello (This is my first post so go easy on me)

May 26th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

Jerry HayesSome of you will have heard of me, others not. From 1983-1997 I was the Tory MP for Harlow, until the New Labour Tsunami swept me aside. Luckily I had a life raft, namely writing, broadcasting and the criminal bar. But best of all, I was helped by some really great journo mates. Some may remember me on the James Whale Show, others as political editor of PUNCH. Sadly, Al Fayed pulled the plug. Now I’m full time at the bar, but really miss my column. So cases permitting, I’m going to have a crack at blogging. For anyone that’s mildly interested I’m on the independent left of the Conservative Party. During the Thatcher years I was regarded as a rebel. Heaven knows why, I just believed in social justice and pragmatism. But in those days that was about as popular as a rat sandwich. On one occasion I reduced our majority from 140 to 4. I was not always popular with the right.

So here it goes.

The fellow who advised David Cameron to take on the 1922 Committee without bothering to read the rules should be easy to spot. He’d be the one hobbling from the Cabinet Office back door with a one way ticket and unlikely to make a donation to the National Sperm Bank for a considerable time. Backbenchers should be hugged close. Clegg and Cameron should learn from the mistakes of Blair, Brown and Heath who treated them with barely concealed contempt. They must wander the bars, the Tea room and the lobbies pressing the flesh. Peter Walker once persuaded Ted Heath to chat to some of the boys in the Smoking room. “You remember Reggie”, said Walker, “made a speech yesterday”. Dear Reggie, a knight of the Shires, a face carved from Spam and whose gene pool you would not drown, leaned forward for a compliment. “Yes”, said Ted “and bloody awful it was too”. Heath was never invited to press the parliamentary flesh again. In politics bullshit only works when you lay it on with at trowel. Cameron and Clegg ooze with charm and bonhomie. There won’t be a dry gusset in the tea room The guys will love it.

An early lesson Cameron must learn is that the right take no prisoners. The corpse may twitch, but it can come to life and bite you in the leg when you least expect it. When John Major was first installed in Downing Street he received a visit from George Gardner, the leader of the powerful 92 group. “Prime Minister if you do things our way your life will be so much easier”. “Thank you George” said an ever polite Major “now kindly fuck off”. The rest is history.

No matter how well this coalition does, the right will feel betrayed and use any excuse to cause trouble. Like the left they need a totem pole to dance round. They need certainty, they need blind faith and most important of all, a craven image to worship. They had all that in Thatcher and their bereavement at her political death still runs deep. So don’t wage war on them, there is no need as the coalition has a good working majority. And don’t treat them like Mrs Duffy. Their views may seem strange, provincial and sometimes bigoted, but quite a lot of the grass roots share them. It’s difficult to teach an old dogma new tricks. But with tender loving care it can be done.

And finally, three words of warning for the twelve newbies who some might say, have had the arrogance and mind blowing stupidity to put themselves up for election to the 22 executive. “You’re being used”. Forget all this nonsense that you are there to be independent minded. That’s Hattie’s line and she is up to mischief. The Whips only want you for your bodies, not your views. They need to get government business through and not be messed around by the kindergarten. My advice to them is if they want to rebel chose the issue carefully, be sure of your facts and consult with everyone, particularly the old hands. If not glittering careers will transform into parliamentary road kill very quickly indeed.