Please see my latest wire for The American Spectator, ‘Tories Manhandle Brexit at Birthplace of Manchester School’:
“Our first and most important duty is to get Brexit right.” So vows Prime Minister Theresa May at the conclusion of the Conservative conference at Manchester. In the early 19th century, this northern English city nurtured faith in free trade. Led by Richard Cobden and John Bright, the “Manchester School” rose to protest agricultural protection against imports of cheap foreign wheat from feeding England’s working poor. In time, Manchester came to represent the principles of free trade and economic liberty; so much so that, according to one economic historian, “Manchester liberalism has come to mean a policy that relies on the market as much as it can and somewhat more than it ought.”
(As October is anniversary of the infamous “Charge of the Light Brigade,” a topical aside: Florence Nightingale, heroine of the Crimean War and founder of the Victorian Order of Nurses, spoke out in favor of a strong British army; she thus castigated the Manchester School’s pacifism that wished to cut army expenditures, which “made a deity of cheapness.”)
Yet little of the ghost of the Manchester School walked among Tory conference delegates, whose sympathy for interventionist welfare economics influences the party much as it did before the era of Margaret Thatcher. Only the conference’s Brexit segment gives cause for encouragement, with two stand-out performances.
My thanks to editor Wlady Pleszczynski of The American Spectator.
May I wish friends and supporters Happy ‘Canadian’ Thanksgiving!