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Iain, Oxford, and Matters Constitutional



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Iain’s mention of Oxford reminds me of a radio interview with the great Tory parliamentarian Enoch Powell that I happened to hear when I was studying at Oxford myself. When the subject of London clubs came up, Powell explained that he could never join the Reform Club (to which, if I’m not mistaken, our very own John O’Sullivan belongs). The exchange that followed went like this:

INTERVIEWER: Never join the Reform Club? But why ever not?

POWELL: All members of the Reform Club must assent to the Reform Act of 1867 [which extended the vote]. That I cannot do.

INTERVIEWER: (Astonished) Do you mean to say that you object to the Reform Act of 1867?

POWELL: That is precisely what I mean to say.

INTERVIEWER: My goodness, Mr. Powell, what is the most recent reform of which you do approve?

POWELL: (Long pause) With some reservations, Magna Carta.



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