In what could well be described as the first modern British political campaign, Gladstone perfected his demagogic technique with a series of attacks on Disraeli's foreign policy. The "evil instinct" which guided Conservatives was to be replaced with "six right principles" of foreign policy. This was at a time when a revolt in Bulgaria could lead to nationwide rioting and international affairs were the stated priority of both party leaders.
Mr Gott may lament the absence of foreign affairs from the current election campaign, but perhaps he should be relieved. Both Disraeli and Gladstone had grand ideas about foreign policy; both of them ended up frustrated as their knowledge of the problems failed to match their ambitions.