Lord Melbourne - the art of doing nothing. See below...
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A Personal Note (Archive)
January 29, 2017
The new American president thinks he has to do things. He is forever on television seemingly changing laws with the stroke of his pen, causing nothing but trouble. Perhaps he should follow the well established British example of doing as little as possible. The eighteenth century prime minister Lord Melbourne is a proud representative of this characteristically British approach to government. Succeeding Earl Grey who resigned in 1834, Melbourne found himself surrounded by strong personalities with fiercely different opinions, Melbourne followed his instincts, which always led him to do as little as possible. This policy provided a calm centre to the storm. As Dorothy Marshall has written: "Lord Melbourne's capacity to do absolutely nothing unless driven, and then do as little as possible, was a definite asset." Melbourne was to remain as prime minister until 1841. There were important advances in these years - the abolition of slavery, the first substantial Factory Act addressing the problems of women and children, and the first modest government grant to support education. But Melbourne's main achievement was that he simply survived. In an age of bewildering change unprecedented in human history, he provided the sort of symbolic stability we could do with now.
Historical news for February
The National Trust is staging a number of events for Valentine's Day this year. For more informaton go to https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/valentines-day-events-for-you-and-your-loved-one
Following the EU referendum last year, the National Trust is exploring Britain's relationship with Europe through 99 objects drawn from its huge collection across its many properties.
"Each weekday over a period of 99 days, we will be highlighting a particular object on our collections website. We'll be looking at everything from Old Master paintings and priceless heirlooms to some of the more quirky and bizarre items in our collection."
For more details go to https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/europe-and-us-in-99-historic-objects
Anniversaries for February
3rd February 1960: Prime minister Harold Macmillan outrages South African MPs in Cape Town when he attacks the apartheid system. He says the "winds of change" are blowing in Africa as more majority black populations claim the right to rule themselves.
7th February 1964: The Beatles land at Kennedy Airport in New York for their first American tour. Their apearance on the Ed Sullivan show would be watched by 40% of America's population.
12th February 1994: Thieves break into the National Art Museum in Oslo and steal one of the world's most famous paintings, The Scream by Edvard Munch.
19th February 1968: Damages are awarded to 62 children born with deformities after their mothers took the drug Thalidomide during pregnancy. By 1973, all children affected had been granted compensation.
20th February 1958: Sheerness Naval Dockyard, established by Samuel Pepys in 1669, closes. The docks would be turned into a commercial facility handling fruit, vegetable and car imports.
24th February 1950: Clement Attlee wins a second term for Labour with a much reduced majority.
29th February 1984: Pierre Trudeau steps down after fifteen years as prime minister of Canada. He is the father of the present prime minister Justin Trudeau.
A preview of my novel - about a girl who discovers that surprisingly she can't find her way to the sort of secret world found in story books. So she searches for an alternative.
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Thank you to photo contributors Danielle Davis, Jean Edwards, Vicky Eagle of Portsmouth Dockyard, Kevin Edwards, Derick Fusco, Julian Jones, Richard Jones, Jackie Lewis, Debbie Lowless, Judy Mills of the Corinium Museum, Jane Barron of the World Rugby Museum, and Susan Stuart of Old Spitalfields Market.