In one other respect I was surprised and, alas, disappointed by the performance of Mr McCain, a man whom in general terms I would hold in the highest esteem.
The Senator turned his nation's attention to a certain "Joe the plumber", supposedly an industrious and ordinary tradesman, whose enterprise depended upon taxes being moderate. Subsequent reports and inquiries have suggested that this Joe is by no means an ordinary tradesman. Although a plumber by profession he does not carry the licence that would guarantee his quality to customers; and it seems his reluctance to pay taxes may extend to not paying those that have already been demanded of him by the authorities.
It appears that Mr McCain is careless; and he would be president of the mightiest and wealthiest nation on earth. For this has not been the only example of his lack of forethought, of failure to consider detail, of failure to ask questions. This has been even more notable in his choice of deputy, Mrs Palin, the governor of Alaska. She, it seems, would happily destroy a species of whale in the pursuit of greed; she would use her office to pursue vendettas within her own family. Her lack of judgement appears only matched by her ignorance of great affairs.
Now a statesman must consider details, must ask questions, must pay attention to small matters. For what if the new President's advisers came to him and urged him to launch an assault on some nation or other, Persia perhaps. Would he take time to satisfy himself that the case was made? Or would he act out of rage, issue commands and then, should there be a moment of calm self-reflection, learn to regret his choice?
Mr McCain may counter that his opponent shows poor judgement in his choice of friends and acquaintances. He must know that in public life one has many acquaintances; it is those whom one chooses to promote, to elevate to high standing that reflect on judgement.
These were matters I repeatedly sought to emphasise to our dear Queen, to share with her the detailed considerations that led me to decide a course of action. Although she sometimes lacked patience in these matters, and indeed frequently urged me to choose instead the words of honey and treacle deployed by Beaconsfield, I do believe my persuasion helped reconcile her to policies that instinctively she would have rejected.
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