Political discussion often gets round to an interesting dichotomy. Is it possible to hate someone's political views but like them as a person?
I have to say that I have found several examples where this is possible. One particular local Tory, who I have rubbed along with, is excellent company when recounting his days in the Army in the jungles of Borneo.
If I had ever met Alan Clark I suspect I would not have got on with him. However, I did very much enjoy reading his diaries. I have read all three - not just the popular one in the middle.
The man's political views were appalling. You just have to read him admiring what he called the "heroic cruelty" of the Nazis. How can anyone regard cruelty as heroic?!
But the man was still somehow likeable through his writing. In his review of the diaries Henrik Bering sums it up for me:
..a man who worries endlessly about the fate of his escaped pet jackdaw cannot be a total jerk.
One theme which comes out of his diaries is the utter stupidity of wasting time in politics. He doesn't say that, but his pursuit of mindless ministerial jobs and endless obsessing about the slippery political pole convinced me that it is a complete waste of time.
But the things that endeared me to Clark's diaries were the things about which he wrote which were unrelated to politics, thereby reinforcing the point, to me, that professional involvement in politics, from the point of view of being a personal pursuit, is ultimately futile.
Those things were:
-His pet Jackdaw
-His dogs and various livestock and wildlife
-His castle and properties, particularly his bolthole in Eriboll, Scotland (loch pictured below)
-His wonderful collection of classic cars
-His paintings and artefacts
The latter obsession of Clark's was perhaps the most satisfying element of his diaries. Here is a man who had oodles of everything: A castle, properties all over the shop, a vast art collection, a classic car collection, an adoring wife, a wonderful family, a political career....you get the picture. But he still worried about money!