Tuesday 12 April 2016

Tory Boy

Most of us probably did things in our youth which we would rather not talk about now. Depending on our age perhaps we plastered our bedroom walls with pictures of Margaret Williams, Poly Styrene or Kylie, joined a train spotters' club, pretended to like prog rock or bought S Club 7 records. Cneifiwr owned a pair of bright yellow and extremely tight trousers which he wore proudly to a Young Farmers' welly disco where he contracted glandular fever after a cider-fuelled snog.

There was even a time when young people liked to join the Young Conservatives. Hard to believe it now, but the Young Conservatives were hip and cool in the fifties, a sort of tweed jacket and pearls equivalent of today's dating websites, their hormones driven to a frenzy as they listened to Harold Macmillan on the Home Service.

After that high point, the Young Conservatives embarked on a long and terminal decline. When Cneifiwr was a student in the late seventies they liked to submit motions in the student union calling for Nelson Mandela and/or members of the IRA to be hanged. On another occasion they wanted a portrait of Margaret Thatcher hung in the bar, and then they tried to spend union funds on a bouquet to be delivered to Mrs T on her birthday.

To their delight Maggie entered 10 Downing Street in 1979, and eventually faced down the "wets". The same battle took rather longer in the Young Conservatives, but the "dry" Thatcherite hawks finally succeeded in taking control of what was left of the organisation in 1989.

By then, joining the Young Conservatives had become just about the most uncool thing anyone under 25 could do, and Tory Boy, Alan B'stard and Young Tory of the Year cruelly mocked those who did.

In Wales, the decline of the Tories and their youth wing, with its strange hanging and Thatcher fetishes, was even more drastic. The 1984/85 miners' strike and its grim aftermath saw to that, and in the final years of Tory rule under John Major, it is hard to imagine that there were any Welsh teenagers plastering their bedroom walls with posters of Norman Lamont, Edwina Curry or John Redwood.

But hormones can do some very strange things to teenage boys.

In 1997 the Welsh Tories went down all hands on deck. William Hague, that prototypical Tory Boy, shut down the Young Conservatives.

But it is claimed that there was one small corner of Cymru fach where the blue flame flickered defiantly against the gathering gloom before finally being extinguished. And of all places, dear reader, that was in Ammanford where, according to former school friends, Lee Waters enthusiastically embraced the Conservative and Unionist cause in a town reeling from the effects of Thatcherism.

Cruelly those adolescent dreams of a blue future were dashed by the 1997 election. Lee completed his education, became a journalist and rose to become director of the Institute of Welsh Affairs, before setting his sights on a seat in the Senedd where he hopes to represent Labour for Llanelli.

Alan B'stard, it will be remembered, responded to the same events by joining the Blair revolution.

Image result for lee waters iwa
Brother Crabb and Brother Waters


Anonymous said...

Are you sure it wasn't brucellosis - same symptoms as glandular fever.

Cneifiwr said...

Who knows, but I remember the doctor having a good poke around upstairs and downstairs.

WelshnotBritish said...

As soon as I saw the post title I just knew it would be something to do with him.

Would be good if we could find some pictures.

Jac o' the North, said...

I am appalled . . . that I didn't get this story.