Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rebirth of the Whigs

Fascinated to hear on the radio this morning an interview with a gentleman called Waleed Ghani who is trying to revive the Whig party and has registered it with the Electoral Commission with a view for standing for election next year.

Don't agree with everything he had to say - Independents and Tories had at least as much to do with the passage of some of the reforming legislation he was claiming on behalf of the Whigs. (For example, William Wilberforce who led the campaign to abolish slavery was an Independent MP and very close to the Tory Prime Minister, Pitt the Younger, who supported his campaign: there were Whigs and Tories on both sides of the argument about whether to abolish the slave trade.)

The ideas of the Whigs were radical and often very positive in their day, but that day finished 150 years ago. Certainly there is an amusing side to seeing someone, in an age of widespread disillusion with politicians, to see someone try to overcome that disillusion by reviving a party which when  in power was notorious for a degree of nepotism, bribery and corruption which would makes the expenses claims of modern MPs seem  utterly trivial by comparison.

But although I won't be voting Whig it's interesting and rather refreshing to see someone with enough knowledge of history and willingness to stand up and do something they they are willing to make the effort to see whether the ideas of a great party from the past has anything to offer the problems of the present.

No comments: