Benjamin Disraeli is a giant of our shared parliamentary tradition.

Disraeli entered Parliament in 1837 after four unsuccessful attempts and spent three-quarters of his 44-year parliamentary career in opposition.

We look back at that era through a flickering sepia screen of sentimental memory and compare its apparent elegance to the unruly political times in which we live.

And yet the invective hurled at, and by, Disraeli would be more shocking today, than it was then.

He took no quarter and asked for none. He scrambled to the top of what he called the greasy pole despite being a Jew in an age when anti-semitism was the norm, and despite making his living as a novelist at a time when a Prime Minister’s qualification almost invariably came from their ancestors’ broad acres or, less often, from the law.

Of course as you look around the table at the G20 there are more than a few leaders – myself included – whose prospects of success seemed unlikely not so long ago.

As Disraeli’s contemporary, Mark Twain, observed – only fiction has to be credible.

The tenor of our times is change and at a pace and scale utterly unprecedented in human history.

 And in such times what price political labels.

Is every boy and every gal that’s born into the world alive still a little liberal or a little conservative?

Read the full article by Malcolm Turnbull at Business Insider Australia.

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