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Quote of the Day

As Allister Heath points out, albeit in his restrained and civilised style, the PM’s speech on the economy seems likely to cause Google’s PageRank algorithm to start giving Australian recruitment consultants and estate agents much higher priority in its search results. It raises the obvious question of why his backbenchers, many of whom know very well how dismal things are, do so little. But Wilkes knew all about those politicians who experience, like Gilbert’s Peter the Wag, the coward rage that dares to burn but not to blaze:

“When the opposition to the minister is the subject of conversation, it is remarkable to observe how men, who are in their hearts well-wishers to it, but have not spirit to speak out, retire back into themselves, how cautiously they hint their love of their country, as if it was a fault, and how sparingly they praise those who openly avow themselves the defenders of it. These men may love their country much, but they love themselves more…They wish England well, but that it is all – they will not advance one step, nor run the least risk to promote her welfare…Whatever consequence such fluctuating spirits maintain in troubled times, sure I am, that in a quiet and settled state, they ought to be treated with the utmost contempt…an honest man may through mistake, take the worst side; but he can not be an honest man who refuses to take any.”

The North Briton, No. 44, April 2 1763.

A vocal Thatcherite MP from the Home Counties.

A vocal Thatcherite MP from the Home Counties.