John Bright may be an inspiration to aspiring politicians everywhere.
He helped bring modern democracy to the United Kingdom as a leading campaigner for extending the franchise, and he fought against the Corn Laws which critics accused of causing poverty and starvation.
Bright condemned racism and oppression by other nations, in his opposition to slavery in America, and by his own, as he demanded that the people of India be treated with respect.
He was certainly his own man, and didn’t take orders from party leaders.
Is it really true, as his biographer Bill Cash argues, that he would be disappointed by today’s politicians?
Party whips and the Government’s control of the Parliamentary timetable sometimes leave MPs looking like the servants of the executive, rather than the other way around.
The Commons appeared particularly supine in the early days of Tony Blair’s premiership.
But in recent years MPs have bounced back – perhaps encouraged, paradoxically, by the expenses scandal, which forced them to take a long hard look at the way they operated.
There are still a few mavericks and visionaries in the House of Commons. Some MPs, and Mr Cash is just one example, cannot be whipped. Long may they continue to cause trouble.