H.C.G. Matthew

H.C.G. Matthew’s Gladstone: 1809-98 was published in paperback in 1997. He died in 1999.

The British Way: devolution

H.C.G. Matthew, 5 March 1998

This, if I understand it, is one of those golden moments of our history; one of those opportunities which may come and may go, but which rarely return, or, if they return, return at long intervals, and under circumstances which no man can forecast.’ Thus Gladstone, unsuccessfully commending to the Commons the first Home Rule Bill, for Ireland, in 1886, a Bill which set the terms of discussion about major constitutional change in the United Kingdom and established categories which remain remarkably unchanged today, as we face up to Scottish and Welsh devolution. Gladstone captured the initiative from the federalists and the out-and-out separatists, by presenting ‘home rule’ as a beguiling autochthonous solution. Federalism was and is systematic and logical, but it lacks a historical or national base. Home Rule recognises the existence of nationalist groupings which can express a demand for devolved power through their elected representatives at Westminster, and does so without the need for a priori constitutional planning or a constitutional convention. Federalism would need a new constitution, Home Rule devolves within the old one.‘

Our Island Story: The New DNB

Stefan Collini, 20 January 2005

A dictionary is, first and foremost, a practical resource; its usability when subjected to a variety of everyday scholarly demands must be the chief test of its worth. But a work on the scale of

Read more reviews

Crawling towards God

Jonathan Parry, 10 November 1994

One small but telling difference between the political culture of modern Britain and that of previous centuries lies in our apparently insatiable appetite for self-serving political memoirs....

Read more reviews

Prime Ministers’ Pets

Robert Blake, 10 January 1983

In reviewing the Gladstone Diaries and the Disraeli Letters I must declare an interest. I am chairman of the committee which superintends the publication of the former and one of the research...

Read more reviews

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences