DIARY: The moral of this story is: you can’t keep too close an eye on your morals

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.

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.



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