Saturday, 10 October 2009

Dannatt and Wellesley

Richard Dannatt, until a few weeks ago the head of the British Army, is to become a Defence Advisor to the Conservative Party. Apparently he and David Cameron cannot see why this is inappropriate so soon after Dannatt's public criticisms of the government made in his official capacity.

Dannatt is now Constable of the Tower of London, a ceremonial position. He remarked on television of one of his predecessors, the Duke of Wellington, that he had been "above politics". This is the politician who was forced to resign as Prime Minister when he lost a confidence motion over his opposition to the very mild electoral reform eventually introduced by the 1832 Reform Act, which abolished most of the "Rotten Boroughs" and extended the franchise to the wealthiest one sixth of the adult male population. Wellington was opposed to this reform on the grounds that "the country possessed, at the present moment, a legislature which answered all the good purposes of legislation—and this to a greater degree than any legislature ever had answered, in any country whatever".

Dannatt's belief appears to be that the country should be run by Old Etonians and retired Generals. Everybody else is too political.

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