September 25, 2013

Horse 1544 - The Legacy of Ezekiel Bulver

Ezekiel Bulver: 25th Sep 1893 - 25th Sep 1973

Ezekiel Bulver was a British Conservative MP who was born in Royal Tunbridge Wells in 1893 and represented that same constituency.
Having been a gunner and then a field officer in the First World War; serving in some of the fiercest fighting at Ypres and the Battle for Poelcapelle, he won a Distinguished Service Order for "gallant and distinguished services in the combined X Corps attack on Keerselaarhoek" but it was his return to England and to the House Of Commons where he achieved notoriety.

Firstly as a vigorous supporter of Stanley Baldwin's first premiership he found himself resigned to the opposition backbenches when Baldwin's Government suffered the loss of a vote of confidence.
After Ramsay MacDonald formed a minority government in January of 1924, Bulver really came into his own. He was vocal over many many issues and partly because of the nature of the hung parliament, was certainly a factor in many pieces of radical legislation failing to be passed on the floor of the house.

It was Bulver's style which made him famous and his doggedness with which he refused to let go of an opponent. In fact, it is one of Bulver's speeches for which he truly left his mark on twentieth century politics and even into twenty-first century politics.

Assume that your opponent is wrong, and explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.
- EK Bulver, to the House of Commons, 19 Aug 1924

Bulver was one of the key advisers who led to the Second Baldwin Government's refusal to negotiate with the Trades Union Congress in April of 1926 which led to the General Strike of May that year. After the general strike many workers felt that they had achieved nothing and were forced to accept longer hours and lower wages.
So critical of "The Nine Days Wonder" was Bulver, that in the House of Commons of May 4 he spoke for 49 minutes in what has now come to be called the  "road to anarchy and ruin” speech.

I especially thought of Ezekiel Bulver on this the 120th Anniversary of his birth and the 40th anniversary of his death when this week, our own government under incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott has shut down the Climate Commission and as part of Operation Sovereign Borders has chosen to withhold information about when and how many refugee asylum seeking boats have been turned around.
Abbott did a very good job during the campaign of telling us why he thought that the Labor Government was wrong and didn't really bother to try any prove why; now faced with the task of government, they're simply hiding and destroying political dialogue.

Ezekiel Bulver would have been proud.

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