It’s time for game-raising all round, wherever we stand on the question of Europe

25 October 2017 | by Peter Hennessy


No one who aspires to the job of prime minister can say they were not warned of the frustration and unhappiness it so often brings. There is a veritable litany of caveats out of some of the most eloquent mouths in British political history.

H.H. Asquith (prime minister between 1908 and 1916): “Power, power? You may think you are going to get it but you never do.” Enoch Powell (who would very much have liked to have been prime minister): “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.”

Quintin Hailsham (who came close to becoming prime minister in 1963 when Harold Macmillan was struck down by ill health): “I’ve known every prime minister to a greater or lesser extent since Balfour, and most of them have died unhappy … it doesn’t lead to happiness.”


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