Edward Pearce

Edward Pearce is the author of Denis Healey and Reform! The Fight for the 1832 Reform Act.

Spurning at the High: a poet of Chartism

Edward Pearce, 6 November 2003

Will became an ardent public man, working well in those times when reforms were begun with a young hopefulness of immediate good which has been much checked in our days, and getting at last returned to Parliament by a constituency who paid his expenses.

Middlemarch

The ‘hopefulness’ being ‘much checked in our days’ speaks the caution of 1867 as against the enthusiasm...

From The Blog
12 September 2014

If the passion of David Cameron, the Saltire flying over Downing Street and the threatened departure from Scotland of major business houses do not between them dissuade Scots from their interesting proposal, what remains of the United Kingdom will require a new name. This would not have been a question a hundred years ago. Conservative politicians and journalists for sure, and many others, rarely if ever spoke of 'Britain' or 'Great Britain', still less of the 'United Kingdom' or 'UK'. It was invariably 'England'.

From The Blog
1 May 2014

It is fascinating to find as spokesman for Ukip a Leopold David Verney, 21st Baron Willoughby de Broke (creation 1491). His grandfather, the 19th baron, Richard Greville Verney, also held vivid views. He talked of 'fighting Irish Home Rule to a finish' if it couldn't be done in a general election. In a letter of 1913 to the Duke of Bedford, who favoured military training for the upper and upper-midddle classes, he wrote: 'I don't think it would be prudent of me to speak in favour of arming the classes against the masses. I am strongly in favour of so doing, I quite admit.'

From The Blog
24 February 2014

Ed Miliband has said with not very much reservation that the idea of getting rid of Prime Minister's Questions is something he 'might be up for'. He would look into it. As political statements go, that is edging on the emphatic. In the same interview he acknowledged public enervation at shouting matches.

From The Blog
30 August 2013

The pitiful defence made this morning by George Osborne, that defeat is not defeat and that in offering Parliament a vote on the principle of military intervention David Cameron was showing statemanship, stands high in the chronicles of absurdity. The whistle was blown, the hoop held out, not very far from the ground, and the good old dog sat on his haunches and slowly shook his head. As one of the admirable Tory opponents, Crispin Blunt, put it, our illusion has been that by instant deference to US wishes we function as a great power when we are not a great power. Blunt, an experienced diplomat, was joined by the likes of Adam Holloway, a former serving officer, in speaking a rational language alien to Labour and Conservative governments alike.

No one disputes that the British electoral system before 1832 was a mockery of representation. Members of Parliament did not want or pretend to be representative: the word ‘democracy’...

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The sudden death of Roy Jenkins took us all by surprise. He was over eighty, of course, and with a heart problem that had required major surgery. This latterly gave him a good excuse to sit down...

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Up the avenue

Peter Clarke, 11 June 1992

Don’t be put off by the title, since it’s only a laboured allusion to Cobbett’s Rural Rides, lacking the alliterative euphony of the original. What Edward Pearce of the Guardian...

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What difference did she make?

Eric Hobsbawm, 23 May 1991

The ‘question of leadership’ which is the subject of both these books is the question of how much difference leadership in politics can make. Contrary to what is held by believers in...

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