Should-Read: Nicholas MacPherson: Joseph Chamberlain sets the Tories a bad example: "On the big national issues of his day, he was on the wrong side of history... https://www.ft.com/content/00a5c60c-3f0a-11e7-82b6-896b95f30f58

*>...scuppering Gladstone’s attempts to keep the UK together by granting home rule to Ireland... his imperialist vision of a Greater Britain proved to be a fantasy... “imperial preference”....

It fell to Joe’s son, Neville, finally to implement imperial preference in 1932. The policy was of course a failure, contributing to the general contraction of world trade in the 1930s. It was swept away by the move towards multilateral agreements after the second world war. Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Liberal prime minister between 1905 and 1908, and JM Keynes probably provide the most fitting epitaphs to Chamberlain’s career. The former said of him that he used “the foolishness of the fool and the vices of the vicious to overwhelm the sane and wise and sober”. The latter described him as a “fanatical charlatan”. It is a wonder that such a man can continue to have any influence today.

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