Conservative governments are at their best when they spread power, wealth and responsibility to the people. Extending the franchise to the working man in the 19th century; giving votes to women in the 20th; the homeowning democracy championed by Macmillan and then Thatcher.
Yesterday the House of Commons voted in principle to recognise the right of the British people to decide our future relationship with the EU. In defeat, even Labour and the Liberal Democrats have come to their senses and recognised the democratic imperative that only the people can make such a fundamental decision about our democracy and self-determination.
All but one of the 20 councils that send the most state-school children to the top universities in England are based in London or the south, according to the analysis by The Times and the Sutton Trust.
An Englishman who played a key role in both the American and French revolutions, if Thomas Paine were alive today, he would recognise in our Parliament the last bastion of the patronage state from which he sailed 240 years ago.