By comparison, Disraeli appeared to relish in the business of Empire. During 1872 in his Crystal Palace and Manchester speeches, Disraeli set down the maintenance of the British Empire and British interests, such as trade, as a central part of his belief in Tory Democracy and the preservation of Empire. Hence, he was prepared to engage the British army in campaigns regardless of the cost. For example, Disraeli jumped at the chance to purchase shares in the Suez Canal. Gladstone called the purchase of the shares a ‘ruinous and mischievous misdeed’, but in actuality it was an important sign that the British government were prepared to defend her overland routes to India. It was interesting that when Gladstone returned to power in 1880, he did not sell off the shares. Indeed, the irony is that Gladstone in 1882 ordered the bombing and complete occupation of Egypt in order to preserve British interests: arguably. Arguably this was much more of a forward-looking policy than anything Disraeli had proposed.
Part 7 Part 9