An excellent panel on tea parties and populism (here) put on by the Hudson Institute and the Bradley Foundation has already inspired one small Inkwell item this week. But an observation by one of the panelists keeps coming back to me. Please indulge me as I pen a second, brief item about the event. One of the panelists (I think it was Michael Barone, but a skip through my notes does not provide the definitive answer) made the point that it is not enough that politicians have a committment to the Constitution and small government, though that is important. And it is not sufficient that they get elected, though that is essential. They need to be prepared to govern.

Whoever made this point (oh, notes!) went on to say that one reason Margaret Thatcher succeeded in handling the coal strike so well, something that might have done in another conservative PM, was that she had spent two years preparing for it. The Iron Lady could give voice to conservative ideals. But she knew that wasn’t enough. It would be nice to think that lots of attractive candidates who regard the Constitution as our political bedrock and who see personal responsibility as essential to the continuance of the republic are being recruited. But unless they are also prepared to govern any movement towards those ideals will be temporary. Talk, ultimately, is cheap. I don’t know how this will be accomplished. But it is where our leaders have so often fallen down in the past.