- In Defence of Mr.Gladstone
How disappointing to see them resurrect a proposal to remove the name of William Ewart Gladstone from a university hall of residence in Liverpool. When this was last mooted in 2017 this is what I wrote:
It remains as true now as it was true then. Gladstone renounced his family’s interests in the slave trade and went on to become one of our greatest Prime Ministers. Like Churchill – and all of us lesser mortals – Gladstone had flaws but historical character assassination, based on historical illiteracy, is posturing of a high order – and the University of Liverpool discredits itself by accommodating it. Gladstone’s stand against the opium wars and trade, his defence of minorities in the Ottoman Empire, his campaign for justice and Home Rule in Ireland, his Education Act and many domestic reforms, like the Secret Ballot, and his election by popular ballot as British Prime Minister, four times, deserves acclamation. His last great speech was made in the city of his birth and was a defence of Armenians facing genocide. How many of those who are now so knowledgeable about Gladstone will have even bothered to read t?
Fight the stain of racism by working for justice and equality of opportunity and fight eighteenth century slavery by championing those caught up in twenty first century modern day slavery and human trafficking today. Not by falsely maligning a great man’s reputation.