The Returning Officer

Red Rags

Subtitled Essays of Hate from Oxford, this 1935 volume was edited by Richard Comyns Carr, son of the Liberal MP Arthur C C. Despite the title, contributors leaned mostly to the right and included three future Tory MPs.

Derek Walker-Smith (Hertford/ East Herts 1945-83) deplored "International Snobbery": "Drains have little to offer in way of excitement compared with a boundary dispute between two South American republics."

Quintin Hogg (Oxford 1938-50, St Marylebone 1963-70) disliked pacifists: "No one would call our ancestors murderers because they slept with a blunderbuss over their beds." John Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston 1945-72) hated "People who hate politicians": "One doesn't just sit back in smug disapproval if one believes that the driver of the car is drunk."

The Liberal MP Robert Bernays struck the only progressive note, attacking reactionary Tories: "I do not blame them because they have been so often wrong. I complain that they have never been right."

This article first appeared in the 06 June 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Are we all doomed?