HUGH FRASER, M.P., M.B.E.
DOES not democracy involve a system by which the judgment of affairs is left to people from whom the information has too often been withheld, and of whom not all are competent to argue the facts even if they were available? Does not this place a double responsibility upon every Member of the House of Commons? For from the moment he seeks election he is bound at once to give his constituents all possible information, and in giving it to indicate a lead. Such a lead was particularly difficult to give at the end of the war. It needed therefore an immense skill for a young Conservative to put the case for the Churchill Government M 1945, a skill which even in experienced ministers was lacking, as
the figures of the elections showed, and as the by-elections have continued to show ever since.
In its profile of Mr. Christopher Hollis THE CATHOLIC HERALD has paid due tribute to what he achieved in actually winning a scat in a time of disaster: it offers its tribute now to a far younger Conservative who also triumphed at that election, Major the Honourable Hugh Fraser, M.P.
THE younger brother of Lord Lovat, he came from a house where the judgment of Scotland commingled with keenness for adventure. He came from a family of leaders in a country of brave, keen-minded and true men, a country which the moment one enters it from England gives a sense of dignity, honour, soundness against a background of heather and rowan, birch and glen; where giant mountains sentinel enchanted land; and if this is true of the Border where Scott made his home, kow much more is it true of the Highlands! And if you were to think of all this playing on a house which is a castle, and from this castle the master went off to lead to the Boer War some of the most skilful raiders and fighters, and when, after his death, his widow gathered round her writers so able as Monsignor Knox and Maurice Baring, then you have some idea of what it is to be born into Beaufort Castle. The long deadly war begins, and again as fifty years ago on an African veldt, Lovat's Scouts came forward, no longer with hones, but with the new paraphernalia of specialised and mechanised war. And what can Hugh Fraser do but join them. and go where the war leads him? While his brother wins a name as the dashing leader of Commandos, he is engaged in the capture of Sicily. He goes out to Belgium and fights with the maquisards, as they win back Western Europe from the greedy, stupid invader.
He joins the S.A.S. (the Specitl Air Squadrons) and comes down from the air into Holland before Montgomery has arrived at Arnhem. He stays in Holland till the end of the war, fighting for freedom by hook and by crook, when the enemy seems to hold the power, and wins both Dutch and Belgian decorations. And then at the end of the war he is three weeks in Germany before the Labour Party force the election-and prove their party sagacity in doing so. • Such was the immediate preparation of Hugh Fraser for fighting and winning an election in circumstances that required a clear cool head and resource as any episode of the war. He soon discovered that his party were leaving him short of political ammunition; for trusting too much to the instinctive common sense of the people, the Conservatives had underrated their intelligence. They did not give them enough facts, or enough explanation of them. And here the native scouting instincts of a Lovat did their work.
HUGH Fraser had grown up with a political instinct. He had debated at Ampleforth as keenly as he ran with beagles. Coming up to Balliol he at once began to speak at the Union. He joined with Julian Amery, Patrick O'Donovan and Simon Wardell to issue a manifesto of reformed Toryism. He became an _official of the Union and finally its President. What is his view of the affairs of Parliament? That in spite of the impressive show of Bevin in debate, the situation on the Continent, and especially in Germany, is beitig badly dealt with because of the inveterate predilection of Labour for democratic Socialism in Europe. He believes that it has made a complete failure of the administration of Germany. He sees it likewise absurd in accepting Trades Union dictation in the matter of Spain. He sees an equally futile policy in Italy. And what is Britain's own prospect? What with bulk buying and a party that leaves everything to Government control (and that like a tyrannical schoolmaster is prosecutor, judge and executioner in one), how can you make the most of the native genius of a people? Such is the background of his ToInrY clParlise, Parliament, Major Fraser has never made the startling effect in the House of Commons which his brother made by his maiden speech in the House of Lords. lie aims at a quieter, more sagacious pressure. And he is, of course, much busier in dealing with the countless affairs brought up in these strained times by harassed constituents. The most interesting employment he has found as an M.P. has been to join for three months of last year a Parliamentary delegation travelling in Spanish America to strengthen relations between its nations and ours. Here are countries of mighty production, boundless resources, healthy religious traditions, fortified by Catholic counsels, countries desiring to trade with Europe, and be freed from the encroachments of the United StatesAnd it is as important for them to have a free intercourse with Europe and with Europe's traditions. Very important to hungry Britain will be the good will of such rich productive countries.