Monday, 10 May 2010

What Cameron and Clegg can learn from Macaulay

According to Edmund Burke, the English way of political reform was ‘to weigh, balance and reconcile’. It was a method that appealed to Macaulay, the great Whig historian, parliamentary orator and a man who was in the thick of the political reforms of the 19th century that paved the way to a fully democratic Britain. As Cameron and Clegg seek common ground, they may do well to listen to Macaulay’s advice: ‘Reform that you may preserve. Now therefore, while everything at home and abroad forebodes ruin to those who persist in a hopeless struggle against the spirit of the age, now, while the crash of the proudest throne of the continent [in the French Revolution of 1830] is still resounding in our ears . . now, while old feelings and old associations retain a power and a charm which may soon pass away . . .’

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