With the recent conclusion of the Conservative conference, we thought you might like one of our classic episodes, featuring some old school compassionate conservatism in the shape of Lord William Hague.
Some say that William belongs to a different era and would go nowhere near the current cabinet. When we interviewed him, he came across as warm, witty and wise with a thirst for history and humour. It is one of our classics and well worth another listen to see how humour shaped a different era of Conservatism in this country.
Humour can be a wonderful weapon in dealing with both adversaries over the dispatch box or connecting different factions and creating a family feel. Compassionate and caring leadership starts with comedic instincts. When discussing his very serious role in our nation’s governance, Hague is quick to identify how leaders from all parties use humour to cut tension and build connections for the good of all.
“You have to be careful as foreign secretary, of course, because you’re dealing with very serious situations, with the war and conflict and refugee flows and so on. So, humour is less appropriate in the job of foreign secretary than in most jobs. Nevertheless, that there are amusing things that have happened. At the United Nations Security Council, I witnessed another Foreign Minister read out the speech of the wrong country. He just picked up his colleague’s and he got well into this speech before he realised it couldn’t possibly be his country that he was talking about. He was welcoming fellow Portuguese speakers to the council, and he wasn’t a Portuguese speaker. It’s not a rip-roaring joke but things happen that you have to find amusement in when your foreign secretary. Sometimes humour diffuses a situation in a private meeting, and you can enjoy a joke together.”
Lord Hague has mastered the art of perfectly timed humour. Even in the hardest of moments, his wit and mastery of humour has helped bring people together to find common ground. When it comes to communicating with comedy, Hague is a master of timing.
“Humour has a big role in giving people perspective and allowing them to bond together. It’s got a very big role in creativity. When I was preparing for Prime Minister’s questions against Tony Blair, which I did hundreds of times, I used to have a team of people working with me, well known people such as Danny Finkelstein and George Osborne. A lot of the time we were actually coming up with humorous and ridiculous things that we couldn’t really deploy at Prime Minister’s questions.”
Lord Hague was kind enough to give us the most wonderful quote for the Humourology book.
“Everyone thinks they know about humour, but very few people studying master it. Paul Boross has done so.”
Tune in this week as we revisit the insight only Lord William Hague can provide. The perfect mix of Lordly leadership, creativity, and humour. Hear how Lord Hague interjects absurdity and comedy into the very serious realm of politics. His tips and tricks for approaching difficult problems with mirthful solutions are timeless and applicable to those looking for an advantage in politics, business, entertainment, and life.
See you next Tuesday.