Available now in premium leather-bound hardback is the collection that all conservatives will be displaying on their coffee table this year: The Collected Works of Johnny Mercer.
Finally the sustained insight of the Conservative Party’s greatest and most prolific living philosopher has been brought together in one large volume. Open the page at random and the pearls of wisdom pour forth — consider, for example, p. 173:
There’s an issue which surpasses BREXIT in this party, something that makes people like me want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, which most of us still hold a torch for when this process is over, that we will turbo charge post March 19. That thing is social justice
He reveals his philosophical heroes:
I did admire Tony Blair.
And the timeless music that defines Western civilization:
I quite like things like Jay Z and Kanye West
Who inspires him with their political thinking?
The best political interview I’ve read. Reflects much of my feelings, and that of many of ‘our time’. I hope she never quits.
Her name: Jess Phillips.
He is searingly honest about his political opponents:
There’s something deeply pathetic about Nigel Farage appearing on a beach the morning after some poor migrants have been rescued, and then running through a market in Kent shouting ‘let’s take back control!’ From whom, Nigel? What am I missing?
Please don’t give me this rubbish about being a true patriot and ‘believing in Britain’, just because you want to leave the EU. Am I not because I don’t? I’m proud of our country. We have huge challenges, but the truth is stronger than the rhetoric. More people lifted out of poverty; social mobility increased; more funding for public services; greater life expectancy and public health; better security services; better at looking after people; better at anti-discrimination; fairer society.
He lifts the lid on the inside story on how TV advertising really works after appearing in his notorious Dove shower gel ad:
They [Dove’s marketing agency] phoned us up because they wanted people who weren’t models or signed-up to an agency.
“When they asked me, I thought ‘Why not, it will be a laugh.’ It was really fun. They sent me and the girls to London for three days.
“Unfortunately, I think it might be the first in a series of adverts but we’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully it will be forgotten about quickly.
Or consider the poetry of Johnny in contemplative mood:
when you go home from here on a Thursday and go for a run across Dartmoor or whatever, and you’re stripped to your core being, I mean, yeah, you realise it’s a shit show.
Nothing is held back:
JOHNNY MERCER: Brexit is an enormously difficult thing and I actually think every government needs someone like Philip Hammond in the Treasury
NP: A team does require leaders though doesn’t it?
JOHNNY MERCER: A team does require leaders and Theresa is doing a good job.
Johnny isn’t afraid of a bold call, as p. 550 illustrates:
No brainer. Let’s not take our time on this. @TomTugendhat absolutely right.
He writes with searing honesty about his youthful OCD:
You get more and more fatigued, then your resilience to your compulsions just dropped off. [He admits he was a] pretty disturbed young man… some of my behaviour was extraordinarily weird.
Like all true philosophers, Johnny makes no pretence to knowledge he doesn’t have:
Had no idea who you were.
In fact, his claims to knowledge are refreshingly humble:
I’ve never heard of, never met, or had anything to do with them.
And who could forget this one:
I’ll give you one chance at honesty. Did you insinuate my wife was a prostitute on the Plymouth Herald comments section?
There’s even a sealed section which is only to be opened with a lawyer present.
With evocative section titles such as ‘I Was In the Army, You Know’, ‘This Guy’, and ‘When I’m a Whip I’ll Show Them How You Really Do a Shakedown’, and a generous selection from the many, many publicity photographs Johnny has done in a remarkably short period of time, every conservative intellectual is going to pride themselves on having this book in their collection.
Also available for hire at only £350 an hour.
Update: The really sad thing is that Mercer is probably one of the better people in the Conservative party. There are many, many Tory MPs worse than him.