Edmund Burke – a writer one should always read

20 May 2013

I thought readers might be interested in this piece in the current print edition of the magazine. It is my review of a very interesting new book on Edmund Burke, Edmund Burke: Philosopher, Politician, Prophet by the MP Jesse Norman.

I much recommend it. Those who haven’t read Burke before will, I am sure, be spurred to do so. And those who have are certain to head back to him. As I mention in the piece, Burke is one of those writers who give you that wonderful feeling of, ‘why don’t I just read this all the time?’

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  • Baron

    Excellent critique of the Jesse Norman’s book, Douglas, Baron hopes he won’t be disappointed by it. Burke is indeed one of the greats, should be read, quoted more often not only for the depth of his thinking, but for the language he wraps it in. How about this – ‘an event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and impossible to be silent.’ So simple so elevated.

  • Studley

    I hope for his sake that his nose didn’t actually look like that.

    • pedestrianblogger

      Perfectly adapted for the taking of snuff in large quantities, I would have thought.

  • David Lindsay

    The most un-neocon writer imaginable.

    Like almost anything by Wilberforce, Shaftesbury, Disraeli, Chesterton, Belloc, or any Pope since 1891, almost anything by Burke would be screamed down in the Conservative Party that Thatcher has bequeathed, never mind in UKIP. The Independent Labour Party was said to include “even a variety of Burkean conservatism”. Anyone of such mind now has no political home but Labour.

    Today, Labour alone stands in succession to those among whom there persisted an ancestrally Jacobite disaffection with the legitimacy of the Hanoverian State, of that State’s Empire, and of that Empire’s capitalist ideology. That inherited, theologically grounded disaffection produced Tory action against the slave trade, Tory and Radical action against domestic social evils, Tory and Radical extensions of the franchise, the creation of the Labour Movement, and the opposition to the Boer and First World Wars.

    Labour is totally opposed to the cruel cuts in our conventional defence. To the ruinous reduction in provincial disposable incomes by the abolition of National Pay Agreements. To the further deregulation of Sunday trading. To the replacement of Her Majesty’s Constabulary with the British KGB that will be the National Crime Agency. To the devastation of rural communities by the allowing of foreign companies and even foreign states to buy up our postal service and our roads.

    To Royal Mail privatisation, which would sever the monarchy’s direct link to every address in this Kingdom. To the return of the East Coast Main Line, the only publicly owned railway in Great Britain and the one requiring the least subsidy from the taxpayer, to the private sector from which it has already had to be rescued twice. And to the disenfranchisement of organic communities by means of parliamentary boundaries designed by and for “sophists, economists and calculators”.

    Every single Labour MP voted to demand a real-terms reduction in the British contribution to the EU Budget. The number of Conservatives who voted with Labour was lower than the number of Liberal Democrats in the Commons. As Prime Minister, Ed Miliband will fight for Britain’s national interest at European level.

    Labour is the force for the Union against separatism on at least three fronts. Moreover, the vast area of England where Labour now massively predominates would secede from any Thatcherite rump state. The three regions of the Deep North alone have a combined population considerably greater than that of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    But the relative success of Labour at the local elections in the South in 2012 and 2013, capturing first Chipping Norton and then Witney Central, indicates that the Coalition’s vindictiveness is bringing the South East back into the United Kingdom.

    However, the whole of England has been removed from the United Kingdom without our consent by the dismantlement of our National Health Service. That defining aspect of British identity still exists everywhere else. The BBC is blacking out this scandal. Only Labour supports England’s NHS.

    • JabbaTheCat

      Blimey, all those words to tell us, yet again, that Milimong still only offers a creased blank sheet of paper…

    • Wessex Man

      Yes David b zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Baron

      David, as the add would say ‘he should have gone to a psychiatrist.’

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