A few days after the ‘chips’ speech, Lord Randolph announced that he would carry the banner of Tory Democracy in the next general election in Birmingham —the bastion of Liberal radicals John Bright and Joseph Chamberlain. The entire country, including St. George’s School, was abuzz with the challenge. Winston wrote his mother: “Mrs. Kynnersley went to Birmingham this week. And she heard that they were betting two to one that Papa would get in for Birmingham.”
Meanwhile, Lord Randolph was continuing his attempt to obtain the Chairmanship of the National Union of Conservative Associations, and to increase its power at the expense of the Central Committee. The latter body. controlled finances and policy and was dominated by the Party leadership.
One ploy frequently used by Lord Randolph in his political battles was the threat of resignation. This time it was a successful tactic. He submitted his resignation as Chairman of the National Union but the response of the numerous deputations from within the Party resulted in his re-election.
Lord Northcote wrote his fellow Conservative leader Lord Salisbury: “I don’t want to get into a fight with the Fourth Party unless we are to win it.” Nor did Salisbury, and most likely a compromise was forged between Salisbury and Lord Randolph on the terms which would bring the latter into the next Conservative government.
Winston was showing improvement in his academic subjects but his conduct was deteriorating. The Headmaster reported:
“He is a constant trouble to everybody and is always in some scrape or other. He cannot be trusted to behave himself anywhere.”