By ConHome's only unbearded staff member
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I enjoyed Matthew Barrett's account yesterday of Mariano Rajoy, the leader of Spain's Partido Popular, but one detail in it surprised me. The accompanying photograph of Rajoy shows him with a beard. Right-wing politicians usually don't sport them. Perhaps the explanation, as so often, lies with voters. There is a legend that women don't like beards. (Andrew Cooper, Downing Street's strategy head, will have polling on the matter.) One well-known woman is certainly a pognophobe: Mrs Thatcher is reported to have said that she "wouldn't tolerate any Minister of mine wearing a beard".
John Randall would thus not have prospered under the Iron Lady. Nor would Crispin Blunt, who now has a beard, or did when I last saw him. Nor would Stephen Crabb. I'm sorry to say that Martin Tett, Buckinghamshire County Council's leader, would have been cooly received in Downing Street during the Thatcher years. Jerry Hayes is the ultimate authority on the subject.
I am sorry if some readers think that facial hair is a bit too, well, fluffy a subject for a ToryDiary, especially given the current crisis in the Eurozone. But elsewhere this morning we have Bruce Anderson on David Cameron's critics, David Merlin-Jones on how to boost growth and Andrew Marshall on the opening of the CDU conference. In any event, readers are clamouring for a growth strategy from the party leadership. We wanted to show what one might look like.