Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Same as It Ever Was

Robert K. Massie on the Parliamentary election of 1900, held during the Boer War:

[Colonial Secretary Joseph] Chamberlain roamed the land, hammering on a single issue: the conduct of the war. His purpose was to convince the electorate that a Liberal victory would mean the political defeat of British arms in South Africa. His theme became, "A vote for the Liberals is a vote for the Boers!" This charge was shouted from platforms, proclaimed by billboards and placards. Posters depicted prominent Liberals kneeling in tribute to President Kruger, helping him to haul down the Union Jack, even urging him to shoot British soldiers. One Liberal M.P. attacked in this fashion had lost two sons in the war and was actually visiting their graves in South Africa when the election was held.
In related news, it seems people sometimes start wars for reasons that are not entirely honest.