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Brian Jenner: A Reading List For New Age Tories

Jenner_brian_1 David Cameron has said we need it and he’s right. It’s time for an intellectual revival. That means reading some books.

Those books have got to be fun and make being moderately right-wing exciting and socially acceptable. Books that can help members communicate what being a ‘New’ Tory means to friends and neighbours.

The way Conservatives use language and understand the universe has got to shift. Once you get the hang of it, I guarantee your dress sense will improve, you will be more attractive to your desired or existing sexual partner and members of the general public will start saying to you unprompted, ‘We need people like you to turf out that Labour lot.’

Why not pool all the books on this blog which members think are relevant to the culture of ‘Modern’ Conservatism? Stuff which is accessible and stimulates reflection about contemporary society.

I have listed eleven books and one DVD set. Add your own. Purchase them through Conservative Home link for your Christmas stocking which will give Mr Montgomerie some remuneration for his efforts on this site.

The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck, Arrow, £6.99

Self-help books are incredibly popular, the Conservative ethos is essentially about self-help, ergo, the Conservative Party should understand the genre and the language, and use it. This book challenges some core beliefs and suggests that the purpose of life is not just material self-enrichment but spiritual growth.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki, Time Warner Books, £7.99

This is popular capitalism. It may be flawed but Tories advocate the ‘Rich Dad’ mentality.

The Rise and Fall of Marks & Spencer by Judi Bevan, Profile Books Ltd, £8.99

This is about the death of paternalistic capitalism. The old hierarchies have collapsed. Globalisation has changed British business and politics.

The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida, Basic Books, £15.95

A theory about how American society is changing: the kind of jobs people do and what their aspirations are. The Memphis Manifesto is popular ‘Localism’. If you want to have a debate about the inner cities it helps to be familiar with the ideas of Robert Putnam and Jane Jacobs. These characters are discussed in the book.

The High Flyer by Susan Howatch, Time Warner Paperbacks, £6.99

Susan Howatch writes about a woman called Carter Graham who unhappy working in a City law firm. The Anglican church has wrestled with the modern world. The Conservative Party has not. Get an insight into how it created a synthesis.

Reggie by Lewis Baston, Sutton, £25

This biography of former Chancellor Reggie Maudling is a cautionary tale for anyone wishing to embark on a career in politics. This book shows there was robust intellectual life in the Tory Party before 1979.

On the Psychology of Military Incompetence by Norman Dixon, by Pimlico, £12.99

Tories have a great respect for the military tradition. We love history. Read this book to get some insight into how the Party became dysfunctional and how it might get better.

Chosen People: The Big Idea That Shaped England and America by Clifford Longley, Hodder & Stoughton, £7.99

When old Tories talk about the nation state, I don’t know what they mean. Sorry. Longley explains the origins of the English spiritual mythology, so beloved of Eurosceptics. It’s not pretty.

Authenticity by David Boyle, Perennial, £8.99

Boyle is a Lib Dem (yikes!). Few thinkers are appreciated in their own party. We should read all his books and steal a lot of his ideas.

Eat the Rich by P.J. O'Rourke, published by Picador, £6.99

A right-winger with panache and a sense of humour.

The Untamed Tongue: A Dissenting Dictionary by Thomas Szasz, Open Court Publishing Company, £25.50

Thomas Szasz is a psychiatrist. Find out what he means by the ‘Therapeutic State’. He is very invigorating. Do a Google on him if you can’t afford the book.

Six Feet Under, Warner Home Video, (Five Series), From £27.99

This American series rubs people’s noses in the modern world. It’s complex and difficult. We’ve got to learn to love a series which ends with the sensitive and intelligent Republican (who aspires to public office) getting the girl.


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