As the Tory party tears itself apart over the divorce law reform, it
seems the party’s claim to be guardian of family values is under attack.
Even the Young Conservatives, once regarded as the epitome of moral
rectitude, is now better known for its enthusiastic partying.
It was not always thus. But few will be aware of the role that one of
the most eminent figures in lobbying once played in keeping the YCs
above reproach in those distant days.
I speak of Ian Greer - whose crucial role in the Young Tories’ crusade against unseemly behaviour I can now reveal.
Back in the late 1950s it was the practice of the YCs - known then by
the nickname of ‘the marriage bureau’ - to hold regular weekend
‘courses’. Ostensibly a chance to discuss politics, in truth, a pretext
for a good old get together.
The highlight of the weekend was the Saturday night dinner/dance. It
was, says a former YC ‘very free and easy but nothing like they do now’.
At the end of the evening everyone would retire to their rooms for
impromptu parties. It was at this point that the ‘purity patrol’ would
start their rounds.
‘There were two: Peter Walker, now Lord Walker, and Ian Greer,’ says my
YC mole. ‘They would walk the corridors and if they heard noise coming
from one of the rooms they would go in and check that things weren’t
getting out of hand.’
In one incident, recalled by my anonymous mole, two YCs were necking in
a room when they heard the purity patrol in the corridor. ‘They hopped
into the wardrobe and when the door opened and they were asked what they
were up to, the reply was ‘discussing politics’.
We may never know how many such liaisons were prevented by the vigilance
of the ‘purity patrol’. Suffice to say, the nation owes a debt of
gratitude to Mr Greer.