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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Jan-18 > Prime ministerial resignations

Prime ministerial resignations

Extracts from memoirs and diaries, chosen by Ian Irvine

In his diary on 10th December 1936, the Labour MP Harold Nicolson described Stanley Baldwin’s announcement to the Commons of Edward VIII’s abdication, which soon set in train Baldwin’s exit:

“The prime minister rises. He tells the whole story… The ‘Hear, Hears!’ echo solemnly like Amens. There is no moment when he… indulges in oratory. There is an intense silence broken only by the reporters in the gallery scuttling away to telephone the speech paragraph by paragraph. I suppose in after-centuries men will read over the words… and exclaim, ‘What an opportunity wasted!’ They will never know the tragic force of its simplicity. ‘I said to the King…’ ‘The King told me…’ It was Sophoclean and almost unbearable. We file out broken in body and soul, conscious that it was the best speech that we shall ever hear… There was no question of applause. It was the silence of Gettysburg.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s January 2018 issue: Five writers attempt to plot the impending advances in shopping, politics, sex, food and computing through 2018. James Plunkett looks at shopping and explains how personalised prices will hand even more power to the big companies; Theo Bertram outlines why political volatility is here to stay and what it means for us; Kate Devlin argues that sex robots are only a part of the impending sexual revolution; Stephanie Boland outlines why we’ll all end up eating lab grown food; and Jay Elwes explains the next steps in our computing quantum leap. Elsewhere in the issue: Dani Rodrik uncovers the truth behind the great globalisation lie—there were always going to be losers, Iona Craig delves into the war in Yemen—the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, Chris Tilbury explains why Britain urgently needs a plan for its failing prisons