It has been suggested to me, in view of the parlous state of my own party, that I might consider seeking a fifth ministry. I have never turned away from duty, although on occasions it was only the encouragement of our graceful sovereign that pushed me to undertake such burdensome tasks. It was always indeed a matter of astonishment that a party of such modernity as ours should achieve so much greatness under my titular leadership.
On this occasion I have had to decline in advance of any call from the palace. Apart from the question of my corporeal state, I understand that certain things are done differently in this age and that it would not be the custom for the leader to be elected without a seat in the Commons nor indeed that there would be volunteers to take the Chiltern Hundreds to allow such a leader to resume his place by means of by-election. Indeed so desperate is the state of the party, I have been advised there is no guarantee that a leader would win such an election, even with the aid of a certain Fox, that fine species the Reynard that in recent years returned to the aid of the movement.
A large part of me regrets such a decision. I have been idle for too long and there are great issues to debate. For myself, I am confident that the electors of Lothian or Lancashire would again respond to the clarion of justice as so often in the past. It seems the socialists have succumbed to the lure of imperialism as so sadly did my friend and colleague Jo Chamberlain. So many men and so many lives have been sacrificed so often in ill-thought out wars in nations of which we do indeed know little. Why cannot the Anglo-saxons (for I understand our cousins across the ocean are equally seduced) recognise that other peoples will, of course, and are entitled by right to aspire to the greatness our nations have attained? Even recent events appear not to have taught the so-called leaders - statesmen they are not - that peace and liberty are not attained by the reckless deployment of threats and weaponry. Justice must be sought and it is gratifying to see that international Councils now exist, merely a matter of shame they are not used well. This was a concept I so often explained to HM and felt contributed to her own simple desire to create families of nations.
Shelagh Delaney's Salford (1960)
4 hours ago