52. H. F. Scott-Stokes to Harrod, 4 Aug. '45

Glastonbury,

Somerset.

4 Aug. '45

My dear Roy,

I trust you have taken no serious harm? Anyway, it's a thing a man ought to do - once. And I am glad that we both stayed the course - which, in my view, is now ended. The Non-jurors were absolutely right (which nobody can deny), & Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath & Wells (deprived), is the only Wykehamist known to history; but they buttered no parsnips, & Ken in the end himself `conformed' - when he was quite sure it could no longer be of any personal advantage to him; to the great scandal of his con-non-jurors. But surely he was right?

Anyway, this & more also I wrote to Lady Violet - who spoke like an angel, & behaved like a Milton (such, I mean, was her humble-mindedness) - I wrote after an hour at a polling booth, on polling day, when I came away feeling that the monarchy was in danger (& why not?!), & forecast our result within a fraction - Business-forecasting is my business; &, as I told her, a commercial traveller (which at times I am) knows perfectly well when there is nothing doing!

She was deeply hurt. I don't think she believed me, tho' God knows it was kinder to be cruel, because any candidate (I don't care who it is) has to take a deep breath before he addresses the electors from the bottom of the poll, especially if it is unexpected - I know; I've done it. Anyway, so angry was she that she positively forbade me to come to the count - I went, of course, & stood in the rain outside for an hour; & thank Heaven she got off her piece impeccably. I don't believe she could have without warning.

But anyway, so ends in hearty laughter my unambitious unsuccessful political career. I don't think I ever sought for success, nor could I have made use of it, had it come. I hadn't the means.

But, seriously, & damn all personalities (my wife & I have resigned, of course, from the Liberal party & all office in it; & have joined no other, nor intend to) - seriously, don't you think it's time the Liberal Party asked itself what it's trying to do, & what kind of effect it is actually having - in so far as it has any? Our object has been & is & always will be to defeat the Tory party, who are far too strong for their own good or the country's - have been, anyway, since 1918. That the Labour party have now done, without our help. Good luck to them. Any patriotic Frenchman sightseeing among the ruins of Berlin must secretly wish that France could have done this - but, failing France, thank God it's done anyway, & good luck to those who did it.

Such is my swan-song of the Liberal party. It has the best policy & the best candidates, but it is intolerably démodé. I take heart from the reflection that whereas it took 50 years after the French Revolution of 1789 for the Liberal Party (its English counterpart) to appear in England, Bolshevism-in-a-bowler-hat has emerged here in under 30. And yet men deny the reality of progress.

But hold fast to the bowler-hat. It is modern England's one contribution to civilization; & a damned important one.

Ever

HFS

  1. 1. British Library, Harrod Collection, Folder Add. 71189, fol. 85 (transcribed by Charity Scott Stokes)


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