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Introducing John Hayes, in his own words (and mine)

By Paul Goodman
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The most illustrious example of a fake Twitter account is @SteveHiltonGuru.  At least, it's a fake in the view of those who ask who the real author is.  The answer is obvious.  It is Hilton himself, staging an elaborate double-bluff.

John Hayes, the Business and Education Minister, is definitely the author of the tweets from @JohnHayesTory.  Like @SteveHiltonGuru, it is said to be a fake account "celebrating the wit and wisdom of the Government's most alliterative Minister, John Hayes".

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I have known Hayes for the last 25 years or so, and to call him an old-fashioned Tory is an understatement of the sort in which he does not usually indulge.

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Hayes is a Merrie England, God-Save-Queen-Anne, beef-and-beer, Chesteron-and-Belloc, arts-and-crafts, dance-round-the-maypole, pro-small craftsman, anti-big usurer, stop-em-coming, hang-em-high Tory of a kind unknown since the death of Colonel Sidthorpe.

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Unlike the Colonel, however, he's an operator.  Hayes helped to found the Cornerstone Group, now a force on the right of the party.  When David Cameron proposed the Coalition to the 1922 Committee, Hayes spoke for it - thereby signalling that it would be acceptable to part of the right.

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Since he's now a senior Minister in two departments, and has a worldview untainted by fashion and a way of expressing it unconstrained by inhibition, I am surprised that Hayes has not been better introduced to voters by lobby journalists and others.

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He is devoted to his Ministerial task of creating more apprenticeships, which fits nicely with his belief in the dignity of labour, manual craftsmanship and self-realisation through work.  Despite his homely outlook he may be too exotic a creature for the Cabinet.

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However, a week is a long time in politics, and so on, so you never know what will happen.  It must be a long time since the Cabinet contained an unabashed admirer of Hegel.  But Hayes has not exactly been in the vanguard of the struggle for modernisation -

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- so such a promotion is unlikely.  Anyway, I disgress.  I had meant by now to end with a pre-election story which illustrates Hayes's style and is too authentic not to be true.

Woman in audience: Mr Hayes, how can we save our country?

Hayes: Can I ask you, Madam, are you a Christian?

Woman in audience: Well, I mean...yes, I think I am.

Hayes: Do you believe that Jesus Christ is your personal Lord and Saviour?

Woman in audience: ...Er -

Hayes (interrupting): - Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Woman in audience: Um...well, I suppose so.

Hayes: In that case, Madam, if you really want to save your country you should pray to God that I'm made a Minister in the coming Conservative Government.


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