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Macaulay: Britain’s Liberal Imperialist

Zareer Masani explores the life of Tony Blair's spiritual ancestor

By Ian Jack   August 2013

Macaulay: Britain’s Liberal Imperialist by Zareer Masani (Bodley Head, £20)

In knowing what was best for other peoples in other lands, Thomas Babington Macaulay stands as the original ancestor of Tony Blair and similar recent believers in the policy of liberal interventionism. As Masani describes it, his famous Minute on Indian Education to the Governor-General’s Council in 1835 “became a template of liberal imperialism across the world,” outlining an “imperial mission more ambitious and global than any since ancient Rome.”

What Macaulay urged on India was the English language, at a…

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