Augustine Birrell was Liberal MP for West Fife 1889-1900 and Bristol North 1906-18. He served as Campbell Bannerman’s President of the Board of Education, piloting the 1906 Education Bill through the Commons only to have it rejected by the House of Lords, and secondly as Chief Secretary for Ireland. Birrell achieved some success in Ireland piloting the Irish Universities Act 1908 and the Irish Land Act 1909 onto the statute book. His career ended in failure resigning in 1916 in the wake of the Easter Rising. Although chiefly remembered as a politician, Birrell also enjoyed distinguished careers as an academic, teaching at University College London and serving as Rector of Glasgow University and as a writer. His collection of essays Obiter Dicta were well regarded in their time and are still well worth reading.