Saturday, 30 June 2012

The fiercest reformers

The fiercest reformers grow calm, and are faire [*] to put us with things as they are: the loudest Radical orators become dumb, quiescent placemen: the most fervent Liberals when out of power, become humdrum Conservatives or downright tyrants or despots in office.
William Thackeray – Pendennis

* Unusual word to use, but it’s what Thackeray wrote.

Odd how many things don't change isn't it? Well not odd exactly - maybe unexpected in the light of our progress since Thackeray's day, because on the whole I wouldn't go back to his world. Not without a good quality bidirectional time-machine anyway.

And yet... when I gaze at Nick's untrustworthy mug...

Because Thackeray's observation is as true today as it was then. Newcomers to the political elite are mostly content with the quenching of a burning ambition. The limos, the TV interviews, the trappings of power and Mum and Dad so awfully proud - that's quite enough. They never really aimed to upset the establishment which after all, opened its doors to them. On the whole we join clubs without any intention of changing the rules.

Of course for silver spoon types like Nick, the doors were never closed in the first place, so what did we expect from the guy? Pretty much what we got is my guess. 

Three more years to go isn't it? It'll seem like ten.


Sam Vega said...

All very true, AKH.

I went to a university with a reputation for student radicalism, and it often amuses me to see where some of the politico tossers have ended up. One Marxist firebrand who spouted dialectics popped up as the personal finance editor on a national newspaper a few years ago.

Another note about images. That picture of Clegg rouses real anger in me; there is something truly hateful and despicable in him, isn't there? But Cameron does not have this effect. He just comes across as a posh twat who thinks he is born to rule, etc. I feel no more visceral hatred than when I look at old photos of Macmillan, or a painting of Palmerston.

What is it with Clegg?

Woodsy42 said...

I think faire meant something slightly different in his day did it not?
More directly related to the French meaning perhaps - to do or make.
Substituting 'made to' would appear to make more sense.

Demetrius said...

Blair, Brown etc. were people of the 1970's. Cameron and Clegg are people of the 1980's. They are all yesterdays people. The changes are that extensive and fundamental. They haven't yet either realised or understood any of it.

A K Haart said...

Sam - I came across lots of Marxist firebrands too. Where are they now though? The public sector at a guess.

Why Clegg is so hateful I don't know, but there's something a little disturbing about the guy in my view.

Woodsy - yes, I think his use of faire must be closely linked to the French. Maybe it was a fashionable phrase at the time.

Demetrius - they haven't and this lack of understanding is crucially important as you often remind us.

We are electing people who do not understand their role and allow themselves to be told what it is by vested interests.