A Liberal Dose of Power

York Membery sings the praises of the great wartime leader on the ninetieth anniversary of his coming to power.

'Cometh the hour, cometh the man’, it’s said. And ninety years ago this month (on December 7th, 1916), at a time of great national peril, Britain got the prime minister it so desperately needed: Lloyd George (1863-1945). It was anything but a smooth transition to power. It took a ‘palace coup’ to propel him into Downing Street – a coup staged with the help of his Conservative allies in the wartime coalition.


Ever since, despite being hailed as a political hero by some – for instance, two of the candidates in the recent Liberal Democrat leadership election (Chris Huhne and Simon Hughes) – Lloyd George’s reputation has been somewhat compromised: by the manner in which he ‘seized’ power; and the fact that he, perhaps more than any other individual, was responsible for signing the Liberal Party’s ‘death warrant’ as one of the two natural parties of government; and more besides.


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