An ‘Arch-Mediocrity who presided rather than ruled’ over a ‘Cabinet of Mediocrities’ – Benjamin Disraeli’s sneering dismissal of Lord Liverpool, prime minister during the turbulent years from 1812 to 1827, was scathing. Historical judgement, however, has moved on markedly since Disraeli’s flippant, self-serving denigration. Certainly, the self-effacing Liverpool was reticent in manner and sensitive to slights. Diffidence cloaked his determination. He lacked charisma or the natural authority of a forceful personality. Yet his integrity, unquestioned patriotism, oratorical skill, command of detail, administrative efficiency and pursuit of conciliation enabled him to play a leading role in late-Georgian high politics.
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'The Bible is all but silent on yellow, as it is on most colours.'
'Houses always reveal something of their occupants, but none so much as writers’ houses.'
Frances Wilson goes from Keats House to Dove Cottage and beyond.
'I miss, in this free society ... the kind of solidarity, the shared accountability, the willingness to risk one’s skin for others, that came with the unremitting threat levelled against dissident society.'
Roger Scruton interviews Vaclev Havel (2003).