Tag Archives: benjamin disraeli

Reflections on the Tory Party Revolution – part one

Conservative Party logoPart 1: From the 2019 Constituency Revolt to the 1846 Corn Law Split, and back

In its April 22th coverage of the Tory Constituency Party leaders’ revolt in demanding an “Extraordinary General Meeting” to shake May’s throne, the BBC inserted the link to its article from August 2018 about how, between the Chequers Cabinet Brexit Agreement and May’s disastrous Tory 2018 Autumn Conference, a Hard Brexit revolt started brewing in the Tory grassroots.

That 2018 article, by BBC researcher Georgia Roberts, referred to the Tory party Conference revolt of 1950, right after the general election that slashed Labours massive majority, when the Tory grassroots “educated the platform” by pushing through the “build 300.000 houses a year”-target for its 1951 election manifesto (whereas the Tory front bench had reacted to Attlee’s nationalization drive by retreating from state direction). That promise turned out to be extremely popular, election-winning (for Churchill, and later Macmillan), and long remembered. Previewing the 2018 Tory Autumn Conference, Roberts wonders if it will see a similar “educating” Brexiteer uprising; it halfway did.

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Psst! Whatever you do, don’t tell the Tories democratic reform is in their own best interests

A few weeks ago I wrote an article for Conservative Home offering some unsolicited advice to David Cameron’s party. I argued that a party that had achieved electoral success in the 1980s by appealing to the classless entrepreneurialism of aspirant ‘Middle England’ had once again become established in the electorate’s eyes as the party of established wealth and privilege. If the Tories want to regain the voters they have lost, they need to take drastic action to counter that view.

Reform of the House of Lords was one policy area I said the Tories should seek to make their …

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Dishonourable Insults by Greg Knight

Over the years, Conservative MP Greg Knight has made a mini-cottage industry out of collections of political insults, wit and invective, of which the new Dishonourable Insults is the fifth.

Spot checking the content of this volume against one of his previous works – Parliamentary Sauce – you find that there is a fair amount of reused content, including whole passages which reappear with varying degrees of editing. Generally the 19th and early 20th century figures have had their range of insults edited down, losing as a result one of my favourite Disraeli insults, directed at a backbench MP: “He is not …

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Charles Kennedy MP re-elected as Glasgow University rector

Congratulations to Charles Kennedy MP, the first person since Disraeli (1871-1877) to serve two consecutive terms as the rector of Glasgow University.

From STV.tv:

Mr Kennedy won convincingly after securing 2601 votes out of a possible 3166. The writer received 565 of the votes from students.

The contest to become Glasgow University’s 121st rector came as the institution faces protests over course cuts. And both candidates attempted to win the hearts and minds of the student body by issuing a warning to university bosses.

Mr Kennedy told the Herald before his win: “My job, if re-elected, is to get all

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Clegg: Governing for the long term

Nick Clegg gave the following speech to the Institute for Government yesterday:

Successful governments require a number of ingredients: strong leadership, public support, dedicated ministers, and a good dose of luck, to name but a few.

But above all they need a clear sense of purpose.

When governments lose sight of their overriding purpose for being in power, the glue that holds them together dissolves. We saw this in the latter years of Labour’s time in office. A directionless government, without the underpinning of a clear purpose, inevitably ended in factionalism, intrigue and bankruptcy.

This is a mistake we will not repeat.  In my speech …

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What Disraeli really meant when he said “England does not love coalitions”

It’s a favourite quote amongst Conservatives who are opposed to electoral reform wheeled out to suggest that there’s something fundamentally alien to this country about coalition government “England does not love coalitions”.

But what did Disraeli really mean when he said it on 15 December 1852? The words were uttered during a debate on the Conservative budget, which was under attack for proposing a deficit. What’s more, the day before he had tried to get the group of Radical MPs to agree to back him and eventually join the Cabinet.

In other words, it was more a matter of “England does not …

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Gladstone vs Disraeli: BBC4 broadcast on Tuesday

BBC4 is showing a new film, Gladstone & Disraeli: Clash of the Titans, on Tuesday, 3rd March, 8pm. According to the blurb it is:

A 90 minute-long film, which unfolds the extraordinary story of the bitter personal feud that developed between two of 19th Century Britain’s greatest politicians, William Gladstone (1809 – 1898) and Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881). The programme is presented by Huw Edwards – who knows a thing or two about Westminster intrigue. Assisting Huw in his telling of this fascinating tale are a number of equally well-qualified commentators, including the veteran Labour politician Lord Hattersley, Disraeli’s most

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