Daniel Geller: Abducted... by the Tories

Like his father, Daniel Geller wants to shape our minds. But it's not aliens or spoon-bending he's promoting, it's Michael Howard. Curiouser and curiouser, says Jonathan Margolis
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If you happen to live in a marginal constituency in the south of England and a strikingly handsome young man knocks on your door in the next few weeks announcing that he is canvassing for the Conservative Party, keep an eye on your best cutlery.

Don't worry, Daniel Geller, a mannerly and intensely serious 24-year-old London School of Economics law graduate and trainee barrister, will not be out to pinch it. But if you believe in the paranormal powers of Geller's famous father, Uri, the Israeli-born psychic, magician, illusionist, whatever, you may fear that Geller Snr's cutlery-bending powers will have somehow passed to his only son and that the Mappin and Webb is in mortal danger.

The fact that young Geller does not claim to have any spoon-bending powers at all will not prevent him, of course, from bending your ear on any number of his political platforms. These range from NHS, EU and family-law reform, to curbing mobile phone masts and re-introducing the death penalty for the most rampant and unanimously convicted of serial murderers.

His father's career is one of the strangest in modern history. It took him from being an Israeli paratrooper in the Six Day War to a celebrity of rock star proportions in the early 1970s to a virtual lab rat, as Mossad, the CIA, the Mexican government and a host of university physicists tried inconclusively to work out if he was a 'real' psychic. Only lately did Geller Snr, who swears to this day that he was abducted by aliens in UFOs as a young man, become an all-purpose television personality, with his latest CV entries including an iffy appearance on the first I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, a renewal of his marriage vows - with Michael Jackson as best man - and a Sky TV series on haunted cities.

All of this somehow makes the charming Geller Jnr's single-minded pursuit of the Bar and Tory politics similarly odd - insofar as it's so mind-bogglingly normal. He took a long time to agree to this interview and it's interesting to think that it might either be the first of a lifetime of similar press encounters for him, or perhaps the last.

Close as he is to his father - "the most honest man I have ever known" - Geller is determined that, in his case, the spoons of the father shall not be visited upon the children. Which is how we come to be discussing politics in a Chancery Lane wine bar after his long day of pupillage ends.

One of the politest people you could meet, Geller is clearly unsettled and disturbed by modern manners and baseball-cap mores, attracted instead to a gentle, patrician, John Stuart Mill "English gentleman" model of both politics and society. "Politicians should be role models," he says. "Educated, wise people who don't have the answers to everything, but have the ability to go away and do research, to consult people and to shape policies that further the interests of society."

Geller says he is economically to the right; socially to the left. His Tory heroes are John Major, Michael Portillo and Alan Duncan, plus, economically but not socially, he says, Margaret Thatcher. In the American election - he was born in the US and holds dual citizenship - he supported John Kerry.

"Bush's natural law politics, where everything supposedly comes from God and morality, are utterly bizarre," he says. "I don't like his position on homosexuality and a lot of other issues. He is a very weird, didactic kind of leader. The whole thing stinks."

Geller is one of those young men who has got politics and got it bad. His only leisure activity outside the Bar and local Tory activism is reading political biographies and theoretical tomes. "I began to feel this calling to politics last summer," he says. "I wanted to enter the arena; to do something; to contribute. So I joined the City of London and Westminster Association. Since then, I've become a committee member and also membership secretary of my Hyde Park ward, executive committee member of the constituency and a member of the Hyde Park Estate Association amenities committee.

"I canvass by phone from Central Office and knock on doors in Harrow, Hammersmith and Fulham. Everywhere I go, I find it heartening to meet like-minded people who not only share the same beliefs, but want to do something about it. Politics is my passion. Politics is the relationship between the state, communities and individuals. I love the theoretical and the practical. The characters fascinate me."

Characters, yes, maybe, but he was brought up in a house where celebrities of all kinds were visiting every day. Don't local Tory politicians seem just a bit colourless when, since childhood, you've been used to hanging out with the likes of Michael Jackson, David Blaine, Elton John, Geri Halliwell, Sarah Ferguson and George Harrison? "Look, because of who my father is, I've met fascinating people I wouldn't otherwise have met. But I get more excited about Sir Teddy Taylor visiting for tea than Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson doesn't do anything for me. I've met Margaret Thatcher and Tony Benn, for heaven's sake."

It was a chance meeting last summer with Thatcher that impelled him to come out politically. "I introduced myself to her and said I'd welcome a brief chat. She was ever so accommodating. She gave me some choice words which have stuck in my mind: keep studying; imbibe information; keep learning. I found this inspirational. I was really moved by having the chance to talk to her." Since then, Geller has been assiduously doing the rounds of possible political mentors. "I've been advised by Theresa May, Alan Duncan, William Hague, Ian Duncan Smith, John Redwood, Steve Norris, Peter and Virginia Bottomley, Michael Ancram and Mark Field. But I find it equally uplifting to meet association chairmen and constituency workers. I've also been incredibly kindly treated by several Labour MPs. Oh, and I've met Benazir Bhutto."

At 24, Geller is that disturbing phenomenon you meet at party conferences - the measured, diplomatic, slightly old-before-his-time political apprentice. Is there a chance that having Uri Geller as a dad could adversely affect his political career? Geller is glad I've asked that. "Why should it?" he says. "John Major's father was a trapeze artist and it didn't affect him especially."

But isn't there something weird about you, some paranormal thing that's been slipped into your DNA, I ask? He denies stories that his briefly famous support for Exeter City Football Club had anything to do with a past life as a Roman legionary in Exeter, but reveals: "When I was about seven, I developed an inexplicable ability to tell you the day of the week for any date in the future. I didn't have to think about it - the day just came out. I lost that ability after a few months. But I've never delved into that. I'm a very grounded individual. I want the Bar and the local Conservative Association to be my life, not being abducted by aliens."

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