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Monday, 11 May 2009

What a man! Compare him with today's bunch of fairies

Forty years ago I lived in Shepherd Market, in Mayfair, then famed for its large number of ladies of pleasure, though I was always too cheap – or health-conscious - to bother.

Round the corner in Piccadilly was (and still is) the home of Lord Palmerston, one of our greatest Foreign Secretaries. One hundred and fifty years ago, he managed the foreign relations of the British Empire, which at that time covered a fair portion of the earth’s surface.

Somehow he was able to do this with the assistance of a remarkably small staff, answering all important messages personally, by hand. He was assisted by two under-secretaries, a chief clerk, six senior clerks, ten clerks, seven junior clerks, eight other clerks attached to particular duties, a librarian, a sub-librarian, a translator, a private secretary, a précis-writer, and a printer.

So that was 41 people in all running the foreign affairs of the largest empire the world had yet seen. Rather less than the number idling away their days in most of the myriads of dreary offices that clutter every municipality or support so many of the pointless committees that squander this country’s money on politically correct tripe.

Besides doing a great job, Palmerston found time for a private life so full that he was known as Lord Cupid, and was cited in a divorce case at the age of 79. Compare him with David Miliband, will you? (For overseas readers who will never have heard of him, Miliband is a long drink of water posing as today’s Foreign Secretary – though nobody gives a hoot except him.)

The splendid story that Palmerston died at 80 whilst pleasuring a maid on a billiard table is not true, but does give one something to aim for. In fact he was alleged to have said on his deathbed, "Die, my dear doctor? That's the last thing I shall do!"

However it is true that he refused to move home to Downing Street because there were fewer pretty women to look at. What an admirable man. He knew what mattered.

This is not what one could say about the blotch-faced, lurching, left-wing thug Michael Martin, currently posing as the Speaker of the House of Commons. This oaf is a disgrace to one of the greatest, most honourable offices in what was once a great country and a reproach to the Bliar who put him there, thus flouting a long tradition which called for someone from the other party in the post.

Yesterday, when even the shiftiest of political rogues was pretending to contrition at having been caught stealing, this wretch (who wasted a heap of public money trying to prevent his own peculations being unearthed) spent more time blaming the whistle-blowers than his fellow trough hounds.

How long before we become Europe's version of Nigeria?

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