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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy.

- Benjamin Disraeli

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

9 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Verity

    I thin that that’s one of those smarty-pants, world-weary comments that don’t hold up.

  • Laird

    The obvious rejoinder is that a liberal government is a disorganized hypocrisy.

  • Patrick B

    A Liberal (Canadian) Government is an organised conspiracy.

  • Paul Marks

    I have never understood why Disraeli is so popular (at least with historians and so on) – on domestic policy he was all over the place (one minute promising to get rid of income tax, the next promising all sorts of wild government spending schemes – one minute defending local independence, the next minute giving detailied orders to local councils telling them they must do XYZ) even his famed foreign policy contained no principle (“British interests” is just meaningless words – because he never clearly defined and stuck to a definition of what “British interests” actually meant).

    For example, Disraeli is supposed to be the passionate British Imperialist (no other long serving British Prime Minister in the 19th century was actually very supportive of an expanding Empire), true he also said the colonies were “wretched little millstones” but see above about his being all over the place. Anyway……

    Disraeli failed to prevent colonies (such as those in Australia) putting taxes on imports from Britain – which meant that the Empire would never be an economic unit (i.e. meant that the Empire would eventually fall apart). And even his personal dealings were often squalid.

    For example, after the Congress of Berlin (supposedly Disraeli’s great triumph – although the long term consequences of preventing Russian expansion at the expense of the Ottoman Empire were probably BAD for both Britain and the world ) Britian got control of island of Cyprus yet the high Ottoman taxes remained in force – why?

    They remained in force to pay British creditors who had bought Ottoman debt – people directly linked to Disraeli himself.

    Hence “squalid”.

    Sadly I think the reason that certain people like Disraeli is his lack of principles and his corrupt dealings.

    Still if had no real principles he at least had no bad principles (no great collectivist ideology) – and the 20th century (and the 21 century it seems) have been dominated by people with collectivist ideology.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I think Dizzy is popular because he is sometimes portrayed as a bit of a leftie (he bashed the “Manchester Liberalisms” of Gladstone, famously also attacked Peel, etc), was a novelist, a dandy, and had that sort of charisma that other politicians seemed to have lacked.

    Robert Peel and Lord Salisbury were vastly greater men, in my view. Come to that, so was Gladstone.

  • Paul Marks

    Agreed, on all points, JP.

  • I think it is because Disraeli was just so quotable – soundbites anyone?. And because he was less dour seeming than Gladstone.

  • Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

    Sorry PB. With Iggy in charge, a Liberal (Canadian) government would be a disorganized conspiracy.

    Now, that clearly did NOT apply to Jean Cretin’s government, who were quite organized in their conspiracy. But P Martin was less capable and Dion was hopeless. Iggy is not quite hopeless but ‘incapable’ would clearly fit.

  • Mike Lorrey

    What is funny is that Dizzy is lauded by the left despite being an unrepentant imperialist, while Kipling is despised as an unrepentant imperialist. The only real difference between the two is Disraeli was jewish and Kipling was a racist bigot.