“Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.”*

*W. C. Fields

From Wikipedia:

Robert Spence Watson (8 June 1837 – 2 March 1911) was an English solicitor, reformer, politician and writer. He became famous for pioneering labour arbitrations.”

From: Rosebery – Statesman in Turmoil (2005), by Leo McKinstry:

Late in 1893, just months before the leadership crisis, Rosebery was influenced by a conversation he had with Dr Robert Spence-Watson, a leading figure in the National Liberal Federation. ‘Can you tell me, Dr Watson, why should I not make an admirable Prime Minister?’ asked Rosebery. Watson replied, ‘Yes, Lord Rosebery, I will give you three reasons. In the first place, you were born with a silver – or rather a golden – spoon in your mouth and to your misfortune had your slightest wants extravagantly anticipated. That was a very bad beginning. Secondly, you never fought a Parliamentary election in your life and therefore never came into intimate touch with the requirements of democracy. Thirdly, as you keep racehorses, you will always offend the Nonconformist Conscience.’ With a rueful laugh Rosebery replied, ‘Yes, I believe you are right, Dr Watson.’ ”

“The rest of the Cabinet-making was more straightforward, with most ministers keeping the portfolios they had held under Gladstone. The only important changes were at the India Office, where Henry Fowler, much to Morley’s jealousy, became Secretary, and in the Whips’ Office, from which Edward Marjoribanks had to retire because of his sudden elevation to the House of Lords as Lord Tweedmouth on the death of his father on 4 March. His place as Chief Whip was taken by the Welshman Tom Ellis. Rosebery himself assumed the Lord Presidency of the Council, an office which carried precedence over that of Prime Minister (the office of Prime Minister did not formally exist until December 1905, when it was recognised by Royal Warrant. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was therefore technically the first holder.).”

“The Westminster Gazette was awestruck by the breadth of his following: ‘A strong radical who nevertheless is not unfavourably regarded by the stern unbending Tories; a Home Ruler who is half trusted by the Unionists; a socialist politician who is related to the Rothschilds; a political reformer who commands in equal measure the confidence of the extremists and the moderates; a man of the world in the widest sense, whose personal friendships include the Heir Apparent to the Throne and the leaders of the new democracy – did ever a Prime Minister at the outset of his career stand in so remarkable a position?’…

…(Sir Charles) Dilke further stated that Rosebery was more liked than Harcourt among ‘the trade unions and the working-classes generally in the industrial counties’. Above all, Rosebery had ‘considerable music-hall popularity, as it is contemptuously called, the popularity with the apolitical crowd or the mob itself, as the owner of a Derby favourite.’ ”

“It is one of the minor quirks of history that Rosebery was the first Prime Minister to have a mother still alive, a tribute to both the Duchess’s longevity and his own youthfulness. At 46 years and 10 months he was the fourth-youngest Prime Minister of the nineteenth century…”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s