11 May 2016

Reflection on today in History

Today is the 203rd anniversary of the assassination of Spencer Perceval, the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated. No conspiracy theory here: he was shot by a lone nut.

As I said, he was the only one to be assassinated, but, gaging from the heated political rhetoric that pops up from time to time, there are those who would like to revive and expand the practice, perhaps raising it to the level of tradition.

I feel a twinge of envy for Britain on this matter: though they had but one, they had at least one. We have had none. The only political assassination I remember was that of D'Arcy McGee, a father of Confederation, but officially a member of parliament. George Brown, another 'Father of Confederation' (perennial leader of the opposition, and Prime Minister/Premier of what is now Quebec and Ontario for a few hours) was also killed, but that was after he had retired from politics and gone back to be the chief editor and publisher of the Globe. He was shot by a disgruntled employee he had fired the week before. It is perhaps a measure of the worth of our Prime Ministers that, throughout all our history, no one thought any of them to be worth the price of a bullet.

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