Voting for Quentin Hogg

6 Feb

Politics seems to attract people of a certain character. I wouldn’t call them narcissistic , but perhaps self-assured. I have just been reading a book about Quentin Hogg, I bought it for 25p (new) many years ago. Well worth the money.

Hogg(or Hailsham back to Hogg then Hailsham …which isn’t a football commentary but his actual name history ) had a strange life, and a strange set of beliefs and was ultimately out of time. Too self-assured for 1963. Too modern and too old-fashioned at the same time. Did I mention it was only 25p.

Hogg had a strange upbringing , seeing little of his parents and being close to a half-brother who clearly had some mental health issues and whose overbearing nature drove him to a tragic early suicide. Hogg ploughed on and was a rising star at University. His early promise saw him stand in the Oxford/Munich by-election of 1938. He campaigned with a rewritten “Lambeth walk” which was aimed at the ladies and ends with “You’ll find them all voting for Quentin Hogg”…its better than Gordon Browns ” Browns Sugars” but still pretty cheesy. He was a campaign politician though. In later years Macmillan singled him out for this role and he contributed to the 1959 victory. The same instincts saw him make a hash of the 1963 leadership election, where amongst other things he was chastised for feeding his baby.

His first marriage was strange, he tried to back out of it but she wouldn’t let him. His grounds were his Catholicism and inability to have children. He doesn’t seem like a romantic then does he, and its no wonder the marriage failed if that was the start.

Hogg tried to delay his hereditary peerage , writing a petulant letter to Atlee who suitably chastised him. Then he famously threw his coronet away to run for leadership, but before the ermine had been sent to the dry cleaners it was all over.

The thing that strikes me as really odd about Hogg isn’t his tantrums or his over the top behaviour. He’s a politician for gods sake. Its his attitude to the Lords and the Conservatives. In 1970 he gets offered the Lord Chancellorship and in taking it picks up his peerage again. Well a different one, but it makes him look odd. He could have forced through some change and sat as Lord Chancellor in the Commons, technically possible then, and has happened since. He didn’t. Then in opposition he rallied against the Lords, saying it needed reform and complaining of the elected dictatorship. He soon forgot these concerns as Lord Chancellor for another 8 years under Thatcher. Who undertook major reforms on a minority mandate. The constitution he concluded was sound. Of course so long as he was driving it.

Classic Hogg 1.


and more


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