Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Thought for the day: The role of the press

I found this quotation in the autobiography of Matthew Parris; "Times" columnist, gay rights campaigner and former Conservative M.P.; concerning the behaviour of the press in political battles :-

"All the newspaper editors ever do is  wait until the battle is over, then come down from the hills and bayonet the wounded"

I think this is well illustrated in the conduct of the press after last year's referendum and the recent general election - although the bayoneting of Jeremy Corbyn proved to be premature.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Martin Luther and the start of the Reformation

The Protestant Reformation is traditionally said to have begun at the end of October 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his “95 Theses” against the sale of Indulgencies to the church door at Wittenberg in eastern Germany. The questions that emerge from this and what followed are: why did Luther do this, and why was he not crushed as previous would-be reformers had been? Why was Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, the ruler of Germany, unable to stop him?
   Luther was born in 1483 and had become an Augustinian friar in 1505. He had become increasingly obsessed with a sense of his own sinfulness, and his inability to achieve any sense of salvation by his own efforts or through the traditional rituals of the church. He had visited Rome and been disgusted by the luxury and cynicism he saw there.
   Luther’s ruling prince, Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, was a pious man who owned a famous collection of holy relics. He had endowed a university at Wittenberg in 1502 and appointed Luther as a lecturer in theology. He remained a cautious supporter of Luther until his death in 1525, when he was succeeded by his nephew, John Frederick, an enthusiastic Lutheran.
   Indulgencies were documents from the Papacy which guaranteed reduction of penance in Purgatory, either for the buyer or for a deceased relative. Many theologians had their doubts about them, especially when they were being hawked in high-pressure salesmanship as a blatant fundraising measure, as was being done by certain Dominican friars in Germany in 1517. Luther’s protest therefore sparked a response, and he defended his actions in debates with other clerics. But Luther went further than this. Over the next few years he wrote such pamphlets as “An Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation” (written in German, for a wide circulation), and “The Babylonish Captivity of the Church” (written in Latin, for the clergy). He denounced the authority of the Pope and the doctrine of the Mass. He also denounced the necessity for clerical celibacy, and himself later married a former nun. When he was excommunicated by a Papal Bull in 1520 he publicly burned the document. Charles considered things were getting out of control and decided to intervene.

Charles, or Carlos, or Karl; whatever we want to call him; was born in 1500 in Ghent, in what is now Belgium. His paternal grandfather was the Maximilian, the head of the great Habsburg family, who bore the title of Holy Roman Emperor, and his grandmother was heiress to the lands of the Duchy of Burgundy. Through them, Charles inherited the Netherlands and the lands of the modern state of Austria. But Charles’s mother was the daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, and through her Charles inherited not only Spain itself but also Sardinia, Naples and Sicily, and the lands beyond the Atlantic which Spanish explorers were conquering. (Magellan’s voyage round the world, financed with Spanish money, set sail in 1519; Cortez destroyed the Aztecs of Mexico in 1522, and Pizarro inflicted the same fate on the Incas of Peru in 1533) Such a vast inheritance had not been seen since the days of the Roman Empire.
   Charles never knew his parents, who left for Spain soon after he was born. His father died in 1506 and his mother, Joanna, was certified as insane; some said unjustly. Charles was brought up by Margaret, the dowager Duchess of Burgundy, who was the sister of Kings Edward IV and Richard III of England, and then after her death by his aunt, Margaret of Austria. His first language was French, but at the age of 17 he was sent to Spain to be crowned as King. He was a rather dour young man compared with his glamorous contemporaries Francis I of France and Henry VIII of England; not particularly talented, but conscientious and hardworking.

   The Emperor Maximilian, who had never shown much interest in his grandson, died in 1519, leaving the Imperial throne vacant. Charles was determined to succeed his grandfather, but that was by no means guaranteed, for the Imperial title was bestowed by election.
   The Holy Roman Empire dated back to the days of Charlemagne. By this time, it effectively meant Germany.
   In theory, all the Kings of Western Europe were subject to election, but by this time England, France and Spain were developing into centralized hereditary monarchies supported by embryonic bureaucratic governing structures. In Germany, by contrast, election was still very much a reality, and the 300-odd little territories (a mish-mash of princely states, bishoprics and free cities) into which the land was divided, jealously guarded their independence against the claims of any Emperor. Just seven Electors chose the Emperor; one of their number being Luther’s prince, Frederick the Wise of Saxony.
   The election of Charles was by no means guaranteed, especially when Francis I of France decided to throw his hat into the ring. (Henry VIII considered intervening, but wisely decided not to proceed). After enormous sums, all borrowed at crippling rates, were expended in bribes, Charles was duly elected Emperor in 1521. But Luther was just one of many problems with which he would have to deal.
The Pope at this time was Leo X, from the great Florentine family of the Medicis. Destined for high office in the church since childhood, he had become a cardinal at the age of just 16, and then Pope at 37. His attitude to his duties was, “God has given us the Papacy: let us enjoy it”. He lived a spectacularly luxurious lifestyle, and was a lover of the fine arts. In the same year as Luther’s gesture at Wittenberg, Leo survived a plot to poison him, following which the suspects (who included a cardinal) were tortured and publicly executed. At first he treated the disputes in Germany as a remote and uninteresting squabble between monks, and did not get around to issuing his Bull excommunicating Luther until it was too late. Then in 1521 Leo died, aged only 46.
   Charles decided, with some justice, that the church was in dire need of reform, and the man he selected to do the job was his old tutor, Adrian of Utrecht, a Dutchman in his sixties, who was now installed as Pope Adrian VI. When this austere old man arrived in Rome the cardinals were horrified by his attempts to curb their lavish lifestyles. Adrian knew nothing of the complexities of Vatican politics, all his attempts at reform were obstructed, and the French were intent on stirring up trouble in Italy. After just two years the unfortunate Adrian died (of a broken heart, it was said), and it was with sighs of relief that the cardinals turned to another member of the Medici clan to return things to normal. But the new pontiff, Clement VII, was to prove one of the most disastrous Popes of all time.              

In 1521 Charles summoned Luther to appear before a meeting of the German Parliament (the Diet) in a city on the Rhineland: the memorably-named Diet of Worms. There Luther was asked to justify his beliefs, but he refused to recant, and was duly condemned for heresy. Previous would-be reformers had been burnt at the stake for this, but Charles had promised Luther a safe-conduct, and the young Emperor clearly thought his personal honour was involved. So he let him go.
   Luther was taken by his supporters to safety in the castle of Wartburg, where he spent the next year translating the Bible into German. Luther’s writings came to form the standard German language, and thanks to the recently-invented printing press, they were rapidly dissembled all over Europe. The Protestant Reformation was now under way. New reformers appeared, such as Zwingli in Zurich. More alarmingly for the princes, a massive peasant revolt broke out in Germany in 1524, inspired by a charismatic preacher called Thomas Muntzer. Luther showed where his loyalties now lay by calling on the nobles to crush the peasants, and many thousands were duly slaughtered. In the 19th century, Engels hailed Muntzer as a proto-communist.

Charles had simply too much on his plate to deal with this, for he was now engaged in a major war with the French for the control of the great city of Milan. In 1525 the Imperial forces, which consisted mostly of Spanish troops and German mercenaries, destroyed the French at the battle of Pavia, capturing King Francis himself. But things now got out of control, as the hungry and leaderless Imperial army (Charles being in Spain) marched on Rome itself, where Pope Clement had been conducting a futile and irresolute attempt to play the French and the Imperialists off against each other. In 1527 the Imperial army stormed Rome and sacked the city, amidst appalling scenes of slaughter and plunder. Pope Clement barely escaped with his life. There were many Lutherans amongst the German mercenaries, who raped nuns and conducted obscene parodies of the Mass in the churches. An unknown soldier hacked the name of Martin Luther into the base of Michelangelo’s statue of the Virgin Mary.

The greatest threat, however, was in the east. The power and wealth of Charles and Francis were but little when compared with the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent. The Turks had taken Constantinople two generations before, and made it the capital of their empire, which now stretched through the Balkans, down through Syria and Palestine, and across Egypt and the north African coast. In 1526 Suleiman struck north, and destroyed the Hungarian kingdom at the battle of Mohacs. King Louis of Hungary, who was Charles’s brother-in-law, was drowned in a river as he fled the battlefield.
   Three years later, Suleiman struck again, seizing Budapest and advancing up the Danube to the gates of Vienna itself. Fortunately for central Europe, it was too late in the campaigning season for a full-scale siege of the city, and the Turkish forces soon retreated; but the threat remained all-too-real for the next century. King Francis had no compunction in allying France with the Moslem Turks against his fellow-Catholic monarch, and Henry VIII of England was a diplomatic “wild card”, especially after his breach with Rome in the 1530s.

With all these international troubles, it is hardly surprising that Charles was unable to crush Protestantism in Germany, but was forced to accept, at least as a temporary expedient, a compromise whereby the individual princes were able to choose which church they wished their subjects to follow. In 1556 he decided he had had enough, and he abdicated. His vast domains were divided: Spain, Italy and the Netherlands went to his son, Philip, and the Empire to his brother Ferdinand, who also claimed the throne of what was left of Hungary. He must have died a disappointed man. Never again would any western European monarch rule such an enormous area. And Protestantism, though under severe threat for the next century, survived.

  There is a famous remark attributed to Charles (though in a number of slightly different forms) that he “spoke French to his friends, Spanish to his priests, Italian to his mistress and German to his horse”!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Taleban bans cricket!

The Afghanistan cricket team has made an impressive impact recently, including a memorable victory over the West Indies in the World 20/20 Cup, but we are now informed by the "Times" that a resurgent Taleban has banned the sport, along with other games.
   A tribal elder explained, "The Taliban said the three sticks [the stumps] behind the player represent Allah. Throwing the ball at them means you hate Allah. So stop playing. 
  "Some villagers refused. They said, "Afghan players have raised the national flag all over the world. We will play". But then the Taliban started shooting, and some youngsters got wounded".

It strikes me that this reasoning provides an excellent excuse for anyone who wants to get out of school cricket. After all, children from a Christian background can argue that the three stumps represent the Holy Trinity. This would be just as valid.
   I wonder if anyone will try it?

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Shropshire in the Civil War

On August 22nd 1642 the English Civil War officially began when King Charles I raised his standard in Nottingham and attempted to rally support. In early September, threatened by The Earl of Essex’s army in Northamptonshire, he decided to link up with Royalists in Wales and the borders, so he marched westwards into Shropshire. He reached Wellington on September 19th and issued his manifesto, calling for a “free Parliament” and the rule of law; entering Shrewsbury the next day.
   The Civil War is popularly seen as either a class struggle or a contest between the King and Parliament. The first is no longer much regarded by historians, and the latter requires an investigation of why the King was unable to gain a majority of the M.P.s, who were overwhelming drawn from the landowning gentry. In fact the 12 M.P.s representing Shropshire (two for the County, and two each for the boroughs of Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Bridgnorth, Wenlock and Bishop’s Castle) were divided: 8 for the King and 4 for Parliament. Ludlow and Bridgnorth were strongly royalist, but Richard More, M.P. for Bishop’s Castle, was a dedicated Puritan. The county sheriff was a royalist; the Lord-Lieutenant, the Earl of Bridgwater, attempted to remain neutral, and Parliament replaced him with Lord Littleton, who promptly defected to the King. One major landowner, Edward Herbert, a lukewarm royalist, retired to his power-base over the border in Montgomery. Other landowning families gave their support to one side or the other, and some changed sides.
   King Charles did not remain in Shrewsbury for long before leading his army eastwards for the indecisive battle of Edgehill on October 23rd. But the town remained in royalist control for the moment.

The Civil War in Shropshire really began in September 1643 when the town of Wem, north of Shrewsbury, was taken and fortified by Parliamentary forces under Sir William Brereton. They successfully repelled an attack by royalists led by Lord Capel, who was without military experience and proved an inept commander. There followed a whole series of small local battles and skirmishes, often for control of a single village or manor-house. It was rare for any army to number more than a couple of thousand men. Both sides tried to recruit volunteers, but there were also conscriptions, and men who deserted and changed sides were liable to execution. Horses were seized from farms, money and goods confiscated from those deemed to be “disaffected”, and there was much looting, masquerading as demands for “free billeting”. Not surprisingly, many areas saw the emergence of “clubmen”; villagers intent on defending their homes and property against soldiers of either side.

Prince Rupert, the glamorous cavalry commander, arrived in Shrewsbury in February 1644 to make the town his base, but then led his army into Yorkshire, where he was decisively defeated at Marston Moor in July. The royalist position in Shropshire never fully recovered from this, for while he was away Parliamentary forces under the Earl of Denbigh scored a decisive victory in Montgomery and then moved to relieve Wem and take Oswestry.
   In February 1645 Rupert’s brother Prince Maurice took command in Shropshire, but was called away to Chester, leaving Shrewsbury open to attack. The town fell to a surprise night attack by Colonel Myttton’s Parliamentary forces a week later. Thirteen Irish soldiers in the King’s service were then hanged, to the disgust of many on both sides. The same year witnessed the destruction of the King’s army by Fairfax and Cromwell at Naseby, and the Civil War in Shropshire came to an end with the fall, after the siege and bombardment, of Ludlow and Bridgnorth in April 1646.

Shropshire was thus never witnessed any major battles, but was the scene of many smaller engagements, by local forces commanded by local gentry. In this way it was similar to many other counties where loyalties were divided.

   There is a detailed survey of Shropshire in the Civil War in “To Settle the Crown”, by Jonathon Worton. 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Rousseau on General Elections

"The English people believes itself to be free; it is gravely mistaken; it is free only during the election of Members of Parliament; as soon as the Members are elected, the people is enslaved; it is nothing. In the brief moments of its freedom, the English people makes such use of that freedom that it deserves to lose it". 

(Rousseau: "The Social Contract) 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Lenin Returns to Russia; April 1917

The downfall of the Tsar in the “February Revolution” of 1917 caught Lenin entirely by surprise. He had not set foot in Russia for more than a decade, and his Bolshevik Party had played no part in recent events. Just a few weeks earlier, he had said publicly that he did not expect to see revolution in his lifetime.
   As soon as he heard of the revolution, Lenin was desperate to return to Russia. But how? He was living in exile in Zurich, surrounded by warring states: France and Italy, allied with Russia, opposing the German and Austrian empires. The intelligence services of all these countries would have known Lenin as an intransigent revolutionary who was intending to stir up trouble. The new Provisional Government in Russia had pledged to continue the war, but Lenin had opposed participation in the war from the very start. There was no way that the Entente powers; Britain, France and Italy; would want him to return to Russia.
   Germany was a different matter, and Lenin had a contact there: a left-wing socialist who was now helping the German government. He was Dr. Alexander Helphand, a Belarussian Jew better known by his revolutionary pseudonym of Parvus. He was now making vast sums as a war profiteer and was helping to spread defeatist propaganda in Russia. He pointed out to the authorities in Berlin that Lenin, especially if helped with substantial German funds, could do serious damage to the Russian war effort. A Swiss socialist, Fritz Platten, negotiated an agreement with the German minister for the transporting of Lenin to Russia.
   So on April 9th Lenin, accompanied by his wife Nadezhda Krupskaya, his friends Zinoviev, Sokholnikov and Radek, and more than thirty others, including some children, boarded the famous “sealed train” (technically an “extra-territorial entity”) and were taken across Germany, by ship to Sweden, and thence to Finland (officially part of the Russian Empire, but now starting to assert its independence), to arrive at the Finland Station in Petrograd a week later, after numerous frustrating holdups on the way. Without the friends and contacts of Parvus to make the arrangements, Lenin's party would never have completed their journey.
   Lenin’s agreement with the Germans soon became known, and led to accusations that he was a traitor and a German agent, receiving vast amounts of “German gold” However, it should be stressed that Lenin’s ambitions were not limited to revolution in Russia. He believed throughout that a Russian revolution would be no more than a spark that would set off a world-wide conflagration, and he always placed particular hopes on revolution in Germany itself.

Lenin’s Bolshevik Party had no fewer than 50,000 members in Russia when he returned. This small number was due to deliberate policy on his part. He had insisted on limiting party membership to dedicated and disciplined revolutionaries rather than mere sympathisers, and had broken with Julius Martov, the Menshevik Socialist leader, on this very issue. But unlike most socialists in spring 1917, Lenin was clear what he wanted. Whereas they, seeing little appetite or need for further revolution, were satisfied with a rather vague liberalism, freeing political prisoners, ending press censorship, and proclaiming Russia now “the freest country in the world”, Lenin had set out his ideas some years earlier in his most important book, “What Is To Be Done?” Left to themselves, he argued, the proletariat would never see the need for a full communist revolution. The role of the party, therefore, was to be a “vanguard”; leading and directing the workers towards revolution. He always despised and detested “bourgeois liberalism”.
   But in Lenin’s absence, the party leaders in Petrograd were uncertain what course to take. The first on the scene was a young man of aristocratic background, named Scriabin, who was to become much better known under his pseudonym, Molotov. Stalin arrived from Siberian exile soon afterwards; and for the rest of his life was forced to play down the embarrassing fact that under his direction the first legal issues of “Pravda” advocated co-operation with the Provisional Government.    

Returning political exiles, like the veterans Plekhanov and Vera Zasulich, were given rapturous receptions on their arrival, and the same enthusiasm greeted Lenin when he alighted at the Finland station in Petrograd. It was nearly midnight on April 3rd in the antiquated Russian calendar (thirteen day behind the Gregorian calendar used in western Europe). A short speech of welcome was delivered by Chheidze, a moderate socialist representing the Petrograd Soviet. But Lenin, to general amazement and some discontent, climbed on an armoured car and called for further revolution, denouncing all compromise. Lenin then spent the night addressing Bolshevik party workers.
The next day Lenin delivered two speeches, setting out what came to be called his “April Theses”. These were summarized in a series of powerful slogans: Down with the capitalist ministers! All power to the Soviets! End the war! Give the land to the peasants! Even some in his own party were alarmed at this extremism.
   The Bolsheviks were only in a minority in the Soviet, and had very few members outside of a few large cities. In normal times Lenin’s revolutionary call would have made little progress. But in Russia in 1917 times were not normal. The main destabilising factor was the war. Over the next few months, the Germans continued to advance and the Russian army disintegrated. Anarchy spread through the countryside as the peasants murdered their landlords and stopped sending food to the cities. The economy spiralled downwards out of control, and the Provisional Government had no means of enforcing its will. This was the situation which Lenin and the Bolsheviks were able to turn to their advantage.

Image result for lenin-at-finland-station
Lenin at the Finland Station: sculpture by Sergei Yevseyev, 1926

Of those who travelled with Lenin on the “sealed train”, Zinoviev and his wife were shot under Stalin, and Radek, Sokholnikov and the Swiss socialist Platten died in the concentration camps. Lenin’s widow Nadezhda survived till 1939, but was bullied and blackmailed into silence. Parvus settled in Germany, where he died in 1924, but not before he had been denounced as a “betrayer of the working class”. Lenin himself was disabled by a stroke in 1922 and died two years later without recovering his health.   

  A recently-published book, “Lenin on the Train”, by Catherine Merridale, provides many fascinating minor details about Lenin’s journey. Among the exiles living in Zurich was James Joyce, who commented that the Germans “must be pretty desperate” to start negotiating with Lenin. Lenin himself, desperate to escape from Switzerland, even telephoned the American embassy in Bern to ask for assistance; but since it was Easter Day there was only a single young official on duty there, who told Lenin to ring back later. The young official was Allen Dulles, later to become head of the C.I.A. He never forgot the incident. 

Monday, 10 April 2017

The House of Lords and the 1911 Parliament Act; Part Two

(The first part of this essay described how the Liberal government elected in 1906 was frustrated in its reforming efforts by the Conservative majority in the House of Lords, culminating in the rejection of Lloyd George’s Budget in 1909. The Prime Minister, Asquith, then called a general election in early 1910 on the theme of “Who runs Britain: peers or people?” only to find his part lose many seats and end up equal with the Conservatives. If the Liberals wished to continue in office, they would henceforth be dependent on the support of the Irish Nationalist party, and the price for that support would be Home Rule for Ireland)  

Asquith now produced three Commons Resolutions on reducing the power of the Lords, which were to be embodied in a Parliament Bill. These were, in summary: The Lords were to have no control over Money Bills; If any Bill passed the Commons in three successive sessions, it would automatically pass the Lords without a vote; and General Elections were to be called every 5 years, instead of 7, as was previously the case (thus giving the electorate the final say in most cases). This package duly passed the Commons with a majority of about 100, the Conservative party voting against.
   In April the House of Lords passed the Budget without a division. But what if the Lords rejected the Parliament Bill? There was a precedent for such a crisis back in 1832, when the Lords refused to pass the Great Reform Act, and had to be bullied into submission by King William IV threatening to create fifty new government-supporting peers to vote the measure through. Would the monarch once again be placed at the forefront of politics? It would be a development all responsible politicians were anxious to avoid.
   King Edward VII died on May 10th 1910 (“Killed by Asquith!” cried the more extreme Tory backwoodsmen). The new King, George V, aged 44, was eager to prevent a crisis, and called a “Constitutional Conference” in June, which however broke up without achieving anything. Lloyd George suggested that instead of a fully hereditary House of Lords, peers should elect some of their own number. The Conservative Party leaders were prepared to consider this, but the backwoodsmen were irrevocably hostile.
   When the Parliament Bill passed the Commons but was defeated in the Lords, the King demanded a new General Election to gauge the country’s mood. This was held in November, and once again resulted in a hung Parliament, with the two main parties equal in strength and the Irish holding the balance. King George now gave his tacit support to Asquith’s government, letting it be known privately that if necessary he would create as many peers as were needed to enable the Bill to pass. Historians later found that a provisional list of 250 new Liberal-supporting peers was drawn up, including some very odd suggestions – Thomas Hardy, for instance. Meanwhile the humorous magazine “Punch” had fun with its own list of wildly unsuitable peerage nominations, complete with appropriately silly titles.

In February 1911 the Parliament Bill was reintroduced into the Commons, passed all its stages by mid-May and then went up to the Lords, who amended it severely. The Conservatives were now divided by a diehard movement under Lords Halsbury and Willoughby de Brooke: the two groups being known as the “Hedgers” (the more sensible party leaders, who wished to hedge on the issue) and the “Ditchers” (who vowed to die in the last ditch rather than accept Lords reform). In July the Commons rejected the Lords’ amendments, and Asquith informed Lord Lansdowne, the Conservative leader in the Lords, of the King’s promise to create new peers if necessary to pass the Bill.
   On July 24th Asquith was howled down in the Commons by a group of extremist Conservatives, led by Lord Hugh Cecil, who shouted “Traitor! Traitor!” at him until the Speaker was obliged to suspend the session.
   The final Lords debate took part in very hot weather on August 9th and 10th. After some fierce exchanges, the Bill was passed by a narrow margin: 131 – 114. “We’ve been beaten by the bishops and the rats!” exclaimed a disgusted Ditcher peeress; and indeed examination of the voting showed that 11 bishops and 29 Conservative lords had voted for the government, including some very distinguished names.
   And so a major change was written into the constitution. But probably something even greater was intended. The preamble to the Parliament Act announced that the ultimate aim was to replace the House of Lords with an elected body. That was over a hundred years ago, and from that day to this the idea has been endlessly discussed but never enacted!

 The most immediate change was the ousting of the Conservative leader, Arthur Balfour, who was considered to have been no more than half-hearted in his opposition to the Parliament Act. He was replaced by a much more intransigent figure: a Scots-Canadian called Andrew Bonar Law.
   Bonar Law was to lead his party into very dangerous waters over the next few years. A Home Rule Bill for Ireland was duly put before Parliament in 1912. Under the terms of the Parliament Act, the House of Lords could only hold it up till 1914, but the next general election was not due till 1915. No matter how many by-elections the Conservatives might win, they could never stop the Bill in the Commons, for the Liberals were supported by the 80 Irish Nationalists and the 40 MPs of the new Labour Party. Instead the Conservatives encouraged resistance from the Protestants of Ulster, who were now threatening outright rebellion to prevent Home Rule. Soon arms were being imported from Germany, with vocal support from the Conservatives. Faced with this threat, Asquith’s government seemed paralysed.
  As it happened, Home Rule passed onto the statute book at the exact time of the outbreak of the First World War, which enabled its provisions to be suspended, probably to the relief of both the main parties. But the problem of Ireland had only been postponed.

(These events have been superbly described in a classic piece of historical writing: “The Strange Death of Liberal England”, by George Dangerfield)