Magazine article The Spectator

The Brothers Plead Their Case to Mr Hoaxem and the Gentleman in Downing Street

Magazine article The Spectator

The Brothers Plead Their Case to Mr Hoaxem and the Gentleman in Downing Street

Article excerpt

The gentleman in Downing Street had to receive delegations, but loathed them. It was just like sham marching, he said - an immense dust, and no progress: 'To listen to their views! As if I did not know what their views were before they stated them! And then to put on a countenance of respectful candour! Were it not that, at a practised crisis, I permit them to see conviction stealing slowly over my conscience, I believe the fellows would never stop.' This gentleman, first sighted in Sybil, Disraeli's novel of the two nations, seems to be back in residence, and once again the delegations are plaguing him. He has had to receive two of them, with - as so often happens mutually contradictory shopping lists. First came the brothers from the trades unions, needing to be placated before their conference this week. He had to persuade them that they were an estate of the realm, to be consulted before he embarked on his long-promised reforms. …

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