President of our local Conservative Association is Lord Gowrie, Alexander Patrick Greysteil Hore-Ruthven. Amongst a host of other things, he was a member of Mrs Thatcher's Cabinet, holding the position of Chancellor, Duchy of Lancaster. He also served as Chairman of the Arts Council, and he's had a heart transplant. And this afternoon he delivered what I consider the best political speech I've heard in Montgomeryshire. Not one of those great oratorical flourishes. It wasn't even 'rousing' in any sense of the word. And I'm not even sure that he'd done much preparation. It was just a man with great knowledge of the world, speaking in a relaxed, generally non-partisan way about the significance of the Obama victory. He'd arrived hotfoot from the US, where he and Lady Gowrie had visited in order to be close to one of the most significant events in the history of the United States. Lord Gowrie lives near Llanfechain and is wonderfully good company.
He told us about his friend Sir Brian Urquhart, who was once sentenced to death - but during the night before the planned execution at dawn, he managed to "talk his executioners out of it". Now that would need a very cool head.
Rarely do I listen to a speech where I agree with all that the speaker says. Well, I nearly achieved that today. Regular readers will know that this blog offered gentle support for John McCain when he was selected as the Republican candidate for the US Presidency, but by the time voting day arrived had decided that the phenomenon that is Barack Obama was the right man for the job - mainly because his election will lead to a willingness on the part of the world to look at the US in a more positive way. While our President told us he thought John McCain is a excellent man, he too believed Obama to be special. The only issue where I might be able to find disagreement with Lord Gowrie is over the issue of abolition of hereditary peerages. He told us that he was very much in favour of the abolition of himself from our Parliament. While I agree with him in principle, I'm not at all sure that I could have supported the 'two stage' process, which has left us in the position where we seem unable to reach an agreement on how our revising chamber should be finally constituted. I bought a 'Yes We Can' top which I'll wear during the General Election campaign. A good day and left Newtown Football Club, where our lunch was held, with confidence lifted up a notch or two.