Sometime ago I warned of the return of Beaconsfield, a man whose reputation belies the evil he did to the world, a man whose silky tongue and undoubted personal achievement concealed an overweening ambition and a ruthless disdain for the peoples of this earth.
In my recent historical researches I have been astounded that for a time he was held up as a beacon for the moderate wing of the Conservative Party, as if his battlecry of "one nation" was anything more than a euphemism for the creation of an unwonted empire. Indeed it grieves me enormously that these same moderates frequently equate him with Sir Robert Peel, a man who would not sit on the same benches as this individual and who must be held in the highest esteem for his contribution to the freedom of nations and civilised commerce between peoples.
Now it seems his heir, the MP for Beaconsfield, has been elevated to high status and may indeed hope to hold one of the highest offices in the land. I would not condemn this personage, Mr Dominic Grieve, as I would his predecessor. He seems to me a gentleman of estimable intentions; but my instinct in my earlier encounter with him was that there was a dangerous dearth of ideas.
Now it seems I am proved right. On the one hand Mr Grieve declared his support for his predecessor's declaration of war on behalf of liberty; on the other hand, I am informed, he now espouses measures that would remove the liberties of ordinary people to an extent that has not been experienced since Waterloo.
This is how liberty dies - with thunderous applause I believe is an appropriate quotation from a modern piece of popular literature.
The same author refers me to a gentleman called Milton, who also defends the intrusion of the state on the individual for petty matters. This Milton cannot, I dare hope, be a descendant of the poet who wrote that great declaration of freedom, the Areopagitica.