thoughts on the state of politics…

i’ve been re-reading Robert Harvey’s excellent biography of Lord Cochrane.

in it, he quotes Lord Cochrane’s own writings on the state of British political society during the early 19th century:

“It had become unmistakeably manifest that the two great factions into which politicians were divided had no other object than to share in the general plunder, and, as a first step to this, to embarrass the government of the ‘ins’ by the factious opposition of the ‘outs.’ Indeed, so obvious had this become, that the appellations of Whig and Tory were laid aside by common consent, and the more descriptive names of ‘outs’ and ‘ins’ substituted in their stead.

Each accused the other of grasping at offices for the sake of personal or dependent advantage, and averred that the aim of their opponents was neither the administration of government – which, as has been seen, was left to administer itself in its own way – nor the good of the country, but the possession and distribution of the public money. So virulent did these mutual recriminations become, that it cannot be wondered at if people took the disputants at their word; the more so as the moment either party was in power they threw aside the principles which had gained momentary ascendancy, and devoted their sole attention to their former practices, knowing that, as their possession of office might be short, a tenure so uncertain must be made the most of. Statesmanship amongst such people was out of the question.”

Lord Cochrane’s words ring eerily true to our modern condition in this country. at least our politicians cannot openly buy their seats, unlike those in his day.

but otherwise, it’s almost spooky.

quote of the day:

“If there’s something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action.” – Ben Gates


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