If there is a family to rival the Attenboroughs (who have always struck me as a talented version of the Dimblebys) for fame, it is the Russells. I think first, of course, of my old friend Bertrand, author (with Norman Whiteside) of Principia Mathematica; if I were to be asked to sum up his character in a phrase, I should say that he was “Terribly Clever”. Then I think of dear Conrad: Liberal theorist, historian of the Civil War and leader of his celebrated Big Band.
There were, however, other Russell brothers who were remarkable men in their own right and deserve to be celebrated. I speak of ‘Hotel’ Russell, who went into the catering trade, and Russell Russell, who travelled in paper bags for many years.
Yet it is the youngest Russell brother who, as Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, has achieved the highest eminence of all; indeed, he has just been knighted. Here he is, only the other day, replying to a constituent who had written to him questioning the idea of buying a new Royal Yacht:
Are you serious? Don’t you have more important things in your life to be worried about without bothering me with this? I am not sure if you have actually read the wording of the Motion, but if you had you would have seen that I am one of the Sponsors. Thus I was one of those who was behind it being Tabled in the first place. And I am very proud that I was able to. I have pride in our nation’s history and its maritime heritage. A new Royal Yacht would be in Britain’s national and international interests. Are you not capable of understanding this?If anyone deserves a knighthood, then Bob Russell does. Or, to put it another way, if Bob Russell deserves a knighthood then anyone does.
Lord Bonkers was Liberal MP for Rutland South-West 1906-10
Previously in Lord Bonkers' Diary...