Lloyd George welcomed back to Parliament

by Stephen Tall on October 25, 2007

85 years since he became the last Liberal Prime Minister, David Lloyd George today took his place in Parliament Square as Prince Charles unveiled an eight-foot statue, declaring: “In the course of a decade, beginning approximately a century ago, he established himself as one of the greatest social reformers and war leaders of the 20th Century.”

Acting Lib Dem leader Vince Cable paid his own tribute:

“This is a long-awaited tribute to a man who is generally regarded as the most radical social reformer to have led this country. Lloyd George created modern liberalism by marrying a belief in freedom with a sense of social justice.

“Both as Chancellor and Prime Minister he was ambitious to bring about changes which helped ordinary people. His pensions and national insurance scheme launched the welfare state and as Prime Minister he focused on core issues of health, education and housing. He was also an ardent campaigner for devolution and he gave women the vote. Furthermore he was Britain’s war leader through the most difficult years of the First World War.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to all who have been involved in campaigning for and creating this statue for this great Liberal leader.”

A letter criticising the move – from inter alia Harold Pinter and John Pilger -was published in today’s Telegraph.

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7 comments

Dr Vincet Cable MP said: “Lloyd George created modern liberalism by marrying a belief in freedom with a sense of social justice.”

Not much freedom, though, for the young men he conscripted into the trenches.

by Angus Huck on October 25, 2007 at 11:41 pm. Reply #

You can see Chris Huhne and Tony Benn debating Lloyd George’s legacy on Newsnight: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/default.stm

by Richard Huzzey on October 26, 2007 at 9:01 am. Reply #

2. I can’t find it on the website

by Geoffrey Payne on October 26, 2007 at 11:39 am. Reply #

Harold Pinter and John Pilger. Yawn.

by Stuart on October 27, 2007 at 12:22 am. Reply #

Sure, Lloyd George was a radical and an iconoclast in his early years, but he became corrupted by power once he reached Westminster.

Someone has mentioned the selling of peerages, which he did. Equally serious was his trading in Marconi shares (along with Rufus Isaacs), using knowledge gained as a Minister of the Crown. A crime which these days might land him in jail. (Would Lord Archer of Curzon Street or Sir Edward Dillon Lott Du Cann even think of doing something so brazen?)

However, the financial jiggery-pokery, and his abuse of his position to force his attentions on women, pale into insignificance when one considers his role in the futile bloodbath of the First World War that left 850,000 of his fellow countrymen dead.

Sadly, Lloyd George is not the only blood-soaked villain to grace Whitehall. Two-thirds of the way up is his partner in crime, Earl Haig of the Somme, and right at the top, King Charles I, a man so outlandishly vain he considered he had been chosen by God and was prepared to kill hundreds of thousands to prove it.

Lloyd George is in cracking company.

by Angus Huck on October 27, 2007 at 9:42 am. Reply #

Agree with Angus here … macho with other men’s lives, conscripting 6 million was it, overseeing that Great War in every last detail, having been a bit of a pacifist until having power, stuffing up Ireland, commodifying honours and peerages … long affair with his secretary, near deathbed hereditory peerage he never took up, then his spawn get it, one son = Tory MP, one daughter = Labour MP.

Obviously there were a few good bits also.

by Chris Paul on October 27, 2007 at 10:05 am. Reply #

Yes, there were a few good bits – The Peoples’ Budget for one. Much of what LG is praised for was done while part of a Liberal only government, while the the things he is criticised for came later, when he was in coalition with the Tories. Now, there’s a lesson we should learn…

by Terry Gilbert on October 29, 2007 at 10:23 pm. Reply #

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