Toby Young

5 Sep 2013 16:23:54

We need more social entrepreneurs as Tory MPs: Toby Young must do his duty

By Harry Phibbs
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The author Toby Young wrote an amusing book, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, which chronicled failure. However he has since become a pioneer in one of the great success stories of the decade, the free school movement.

Mr Young is now contemplating a new career as a politician.

In his Spectator column this week he says he is considering seeking nomination as the Conservative candidate for the Hammersmith constituency at the next election.

He first outlines his understandable reservations but adds:

True, my chances of getting selected and winning the set would be slim, but those are the kinds of odds I like. I’m one of those people who doesn’t really feel alive unless his back is against the wall. I
could go for a safe seat instead, but where would be the fun in that? If the Conservatives are returned in 2015 with an overall majority, and I beat Andrew Slaughter in the process, I would feel as if I’d
contributed to that victory. The satisfaction of having helped keep Labour out would be a source of comfort during the five years in the salt mines that followed.

I won’t pretend the brickbats thrown at me during the campaign wouldn’t hurt, but I’d be a sorry excuse for a man if I let that put me off. I’ve long ago learnt that the best defence against people bad-mouthing you is to continue to behave decently and honourably. You must judge yourself by your actions, even if others won’t. To paraphrase Kipling, don’t deal in lies even if you’re lied about, and don’t give way to hating even if you’re hated.

Finally, and most importantly, I love this dirty rotten country. So what if people have a low opinion of politicians? I don’t want to be an MP because of any special status it might bring. Like the majority
of people who embark on this treadmill, I’d be doing it out of a sense of patriotic duty and the belief that my lot would be better for the country than the other lot.

As I say, a tough decision. And I’m going to have to decide whether to go for it in the next few weeks.

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