Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Fourth Party

- Another installment in my series

Stories of the world during the time Winston Churchill lived in it: 1874 to 1965.

The year is 1880; the election is over; and you Conservatives have lost again. Since 1846 your party has won only one general election, the last one six years ago in 1874.

We watch as you traipse into Parliament. Across the aisle the Liberal Members sit in row upon row, their enormous numbers overflowing to your own side of the chamber. Below to your right, on the Front Opposition Bench sits the sorry wreckage of your leadership. Utterly demoralized, and bereft of ideas, all they can think of is to oppose change. Across the aisle from them, on the Treasury Bench, among the Liberal leaders sits their champion, one of the greatest British statesmen of the century: William E. Gladstone.

Can you even imagine, friend Tory, that in a few short years you will stake your future on the masses you dread and that they may in turn base their future upon the institutions you guard? The instrument of this change sits with you now. Don’t try to guess but if you insist here’s a hint: he is the most unlikely of your colleagues.

This passage of the book will take Lord Randolph (Winston's father) from his days as a playboy through his years energizing the Conservatives, to his emergence in the highest circles of British government.

This series consists of short summaries for passages from the book that I am writing.

Other Installments of this series (in progress).

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