A few weeks ago I turned on the TV to behold one Willoughby de Broke speaking to his Peers in theHouse of Lords on behalf of UKIP.
I had a double-take, for I thought he had been buried, together with the Third Home Rule Bill, way back in 1912.
So I checked him out and found I had been observing the 21st Baron, in a line going back to the 15th century, and thinking I was beholding the resurrected 19th Baron, his grandfather, whose name I recalled from reading George Dangerfield’s “The Strange Death of Liberal England” nearly fifty years ago.
Dangerfield depicted the 19th Baron thus – ” genial and sporting young peer, whose face bore a pleasing resemblance to a horse …he had quite a gift for writing, thought clearly and was not more than two hundred years behind his time” He was a founder of “The British League for the Support of Ulster and the Union.”
But if the 19th Baron was not more than 200 hundred years behind his time in 1912, it seems that John Redwood MP, once lampooned by Private Eye as “Dracula” (the Undead Vampire), is nearly 500 years behind ours, because he has been drawing sustenance from a claim of 1533 –
“Where by divers sundry old authentic histories and chronicles it is manifestly declared and stated that this realm of England is an Empire, and so had been accepted in the world……..”
If you think that, by neither naming a single old authentic history, nor even a single new, revisionist one, nor a similarly adjectival chronicle, that someone was diving or ducking, and you could well be right.
But the claimant’s diving did him little good in the end. Nor did his ducking do him much good at his other extremity, when his King, Henry VIII, for whose benefit he had acted, repaid Thomas Cromwell with the chop.