I am still reading Robin Harris's magisterial history of the Conservative party and it is getting ever more interesting. There is no doubt that the author is more interested in the second half of the nineteenth and, presumably, the twentieth centuries than in the early days of Burke, Pitt and, even, Canning.
In the account of the Eastern crisis of 1876 there is a paragraph from a letter by Lord Salisbury, then Secretary of State for India, to Lord Lytton, who had recently become Viceroy of India.
The commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcasses of dead policies. When a mast falls overboard, you do not try to save a rope here and a spar there, in memory of their former utility; you cut away the hamper altogether. We cling to the shred of an old policy after it has been torn to pieces; and to the shadow of the shred after the rag itself has been torn away.An interesting analysis from one of the greatest Conservative statesmen in this country's history.