Duncan’s Economic Blog

David Laws: An Historical Footnote

Posted in Uncategorized by duncanseconomicblog on May 12, 2011

A ‘not really about economics’ post, so feel free to skip.

Two things really annoy, one is the misuse of economics and another is the misuse of history, so whilst the right-wing blogsphere is mainly (although not entirely) preparing to argue for a return of David Laws to government, I thought I’d mention something that has been bothering me for nearly a year.

Back in May 2010 David Laws appeared at the dispatch box during his brief career as a minister. What was noticeable about the questions was the amount of praise he received from the Tory backbenches.

Edward Leigh went as far as to “welcome the return to the Treasury of stern, unbending Gladstonian Liberalism.”

Which is an interesting and revealing historical mistake to make. 

The phrase Leigh was presumably looking for is from Macaulay and was coined in 1838, when Gladstone still sat on the Tory benches. Gladstone was described as the ‘rising hope of those stern, unbending Tories’.

Maybe the same could be said today of David Laws.

4 Responses

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  1. Left Outside said, on May 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Maybe the same could be said today of David Laws.

    Ouch.

  2. David M said, on May 13, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    In fairness to Laws he did stress his commitment to social liberalism after that comment was made. I think he’s more in the mould of TH Green or even LT Hobhouse than Gladstone.

  3. Don Harrison said, on May 14, 2011 at 9:50 am

    David Laws back in the Government would be a positive asset.

  4. ejh said, on June 27, 2011 at 10:59 am

    “An historical” always makes me want to cheer.


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