Episode 419: Stanley Up

Episode 419: Stanley Up

Ep 419 Dolby

Back in the day I was reading this biography of Lord John Russell, and it seemed like Every Other Page, Lord Derby was being called in to form a government that would inevitably crumble and reset the system. To be fair, he was only Prime Minister three times, and of those, the third time out he managed to pass a substantial Reform Act, and one out of three ain't bad. To add to that, his translation of the Iliad was something of a commercial phenomenon, running through edition after edition.

Lord North you have to feel sorry for. He wanted out of power so very much, but George III kept bullying him back into it to carry out his policies. That included distributing royal funds to buy parliamentary votes for crucial matters. What is really strange is that North and arch-George-enemy Charles Fox actually shared a cabinet for a while.

Edward II is more sad than anything. When your people come to you and say, "We really don't think you're that good of a king. Could you please stop, you know, being king?" and you do, it's a good sign that you weren't right for the post.

Warren Hastings did some good stuff in India while making himself obscenely wealthy. He was the first to recommend a policy of understanding Indian culture as a way of better administering the province, and was a genuine admirer of many of its aspects. Then, he came back and got wrapped up in a parliamentary charge of corruption that ended up getting split along party lines and so dragged on for years and years.

Napoleon III is the plucky comic relief of 19th century European history. His early adventures consisted of repeatedly gathering up a few die-hard supporters, landing somewhere in France, attempting to start an army revolution in his name, and then failing spectacularly to get anybody interested. Things would start off well and properly Napoleonic until some officer would call him on inciting treason, at which point Napoleon would in essence pull the "Is That A Rabbit Over There?" trick and try to run away. But eventually his name came to be useful to the right people, and so he found his way to the throne and, through it, to total devastation at the hands of Prussia in 1870, though it should be said his projects for improving the infrastructure of France were actually pretty sensible and admirable.

There's basically no excuse for Frederick William IV. He tried his best to strike down the promises and advances made by the Hohenzollerns during the resistance to Napoleon, and when finally compelled to make some changes after 1848, he let Bismarck loose to effectively choke any chance at actual representation in the new assembly. Really, though, you can pick pretty much any 19th century Hohenzollern for this spot.

- Count Dolby von Luckner

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