Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

In the Vanguard of the Post-Bureaucratic Age

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

In the Vanguard of the Post-Bureaucratic Age

Article excerpt

"Here I stand. I can do no other." Or so Dave would have us believe. There were a dozen of us invited to Dean last weekend for what was described as a gathering of "The New Wave". New the others certainly were--1 didn't recognise a single one of them and, rather more worryingly, they appeared not to know who I was either. It was immediately obvious that DC was after something, because we received the full Samantha treatment: the smile, the polite laugh at any attempt at humour, the reassuring light pat on shoulder.

For a while we mingled uneasily as, painstakingly, I established that I was surrounded by successful head teachers, small business leaders (small as in business, not leader) and a weathergirl from, apparently, "Five". Eventually, our blessed leader ascended to his podium:

"We are in the process of ridding ourselves of the dead wood--Hogg, Steen, the Wintertons, dear Andrew MacKay--and we must replace it with ..."

"Lively wood?" I asked.

"Thank you, Gideon. With new faces, with new people filled with new passion and new commitment, with ... you twelve."

Eleven of the disciples applauded.

"This is my Clause Four moment." (Which expenses regulation is that? I thought.) "My chance to show that the Conservative Party has changed. To demonstrate that it's a party no longer stuck in gentlemen's clubs but instead in the vanguard of the Post-Bureaucratic Age. I want you to join me there."

Great was the rejoicing among teachers and business types and weathergirl, and the barbecue which followed was a lively affair. Although, having seemingly been cast as Judas, I kept a low profile. …

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