The housing association board I sit on has an annual appraisal system - not my favourite thing but probably a good idea. Anyway, during my recent appraisal our chair, who conducted the appraisal, commented on my social conscience. I could have taken this as "you're a Tory, you're not supposed to have one of those" but, knowing the man in question, it was meant simply as a positive observation.
So let me tell you where it comes from by retelling the story my Dad told at my Mum's funeral.
"After the war an old lady was found dead in the streets of Penge. She died of malnutrition.
Three ladies, Rachel Notley, Mrs Martin-Clarke and Joy's mother (my grandmother) were so shocked that they set up one of the first meals-on-wheels services in the country.
The ladies made soup, bought bread and persuaded the curate of St John's, Penge to help them deliver said soup and bread to old folk in the town using his motorcycle with sidecar.
Some years later, the ladies wanted to get council to get them a van and, because we had a Hillman Husky, Grandma asked my Mum to deliver meals-on-wheels in that to show there was a need. The council gave them a van.
And Joy delivered meals-on-wheels in that van for thirty years."
There's a load more things that Mum did like getting the funds to buy the Melvin Hall, turning a little lunch club into feeding up to a hundred old folk every day out of that hall. Mum did that because, in simple terms, her Mum had instilled in her the idea of charity - which is why my brother read the parable of the Good Samaritan at the funeral. Mum cared.
One other thing. Mum was - from her teens to her old age - a Conservative.