Saturday, December 09, 2006

Lord James Douglas Hamilton

Last night I was taken along to Glasgow Southside Conservative association - basically Teddy Taylor's old seat - for a talk by Lord James. It was a fascinating and interesting tale, to do with his father and the arrival of Rudoph Hess in Scotland during the war. There was also wine and food, and a prize draw, and a thoroughly good eveing was had by the ( approx) twenty or so people who attended.The most interesting part of the evening was the part where we were told about Albrecht Haushoffer, who was Germany's greatest expert of Britain and it's Commonwealth. He had written a report in 1938, prior to Munich, stating categorically that Britain would fight if Germany drove East. Hess and Hitler dismissed it. He also warned - as did Hess in Mein Kampf ( that sounds strange as Hitler wrote it, but Hess actually edited and redrafted it) - that Germany should only attack East once the back door was secured by Britain.
Interestingly enough, I have been reading a book about the rise and downfall of Prussia ( officially disbanded in 1947). The main preoccupation of successive monarchs was to avoid such a two front war.The problem was always going to be that if a stupid king DID start a war on two fronts, then potentially it spelt the end. More importantly, even after the Landestag and Bundesrat reforms around the time of the unification of Germany, the control of the Army was NEVER removed from the king and put under the Parliament. This meant that Wee Willie could declare and wage war without there being anyone to gainsay him. The same thing still applied after WWI - the Head of State was still in control of the Army. Although it is unlikely that being under Parliament's sway would have had any effect before either World War, it just might have done before WWI.
As they used to say to me at school - " Compare and contrast" with the position in the UK today, where Bliar has effectively taken us to war and subsequently had the debate in Parliament. And compare it to Mrs. T who, I believe, did not actually declare war on Argentina until Parliament approved it.
I have wandered far from the point I actually wanted to make. That was, that on a cold Friday night, a senior Tory politician was prepared to turn out for 20 odd people, and be the soul of charm and wit. Unlike most now in politics, he bahaved in a selfless way.
It made me proud to have been there.

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