Gentlemen and Intellectuals

Ian Gilmour

  • Balfour: Intellectual Statesman by Ruddock Mackay
    Oxford, 388 pp, £19.50, May 1985, ISBN 0 19 212245 2
  • Austen Chamberlain: Gentleman in Politics by David Dutton
    Ross Anderson Publications, 373 pp, £14.95, March 1985, ISBN 0 86360 018 2

In 1903 Winston Churchill said that if the Conservatives adopted protection, the old Conservative Party would disappear, and something like the American Republican Party would probably take its place. Churchill was wrong, in that the Conservative Party had already largely disappeared – not for the last time. By the end of the 19th century the disintegration of the Whigs had led to the Conservative Party’s becoming for the first time in its history the natural choice of the wealthy; the Party already resembled the Republican Party in the United States and was near to being dominated by a single interest, the rich. The difference was that under the Republicans American capitalism flourished, while the British economy was already in relative decline.

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