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[All rights reserved] 

Published August 1913 
Reprinted September, October, and 
November 1913 

Printed by EALLANTYNE, HANSON &> Co. 
at the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh 













X. THE INSURANCE ACT . . . .116 



INDEX 158 




MR. LLOYD GEORGE is one of the most 
dramatic figures that has ever taken the stage 
of British politics. All eyes are on him all the 
time. No whisper from him is missed. 

We were at war. At the hands of a little 
nation the greatest Empire was sustaining 
astounding reverses. Our famous generals 
were being beaten by farmers. The blood of 
our fighting-men was flowing in rivers. Each 
day brought its awful casualty lists and fresh 
horrors of defeat and capture. Our people 
staggered under amazement and dismay. Men 
moved with set faces under a black cloud. 

And then . . . from the back of the stage 
there rushed forward a man who actually 
blessed our enemies, and helped them against 
us ; a man who made speeches in praise of the 
men whose rifles were bringing misery to every 

That was the coming of Mr. Lloyd George. 

The Real Lloyd George 

And that was the coming of a politician a 
man who can only live by popular favour. 

When the curtain rang down on that first 
act, no one can have imagined that the enemy 
of our nation would ever become the idol of 
our people. 

Mr. Lloyd George in his part of pro-Boer 
achieved two successes. He was hated, and, 
above all, he was hated universally save in 
parts of Wales and Ireland. He moved in a 
sea of limelight. His name was a byeword ; 
but it was on all lips. No man with a fist 
clenched but watched his movements for a 
chance to get at him. There is a hint for 
public men in this. { 


And in this scandalous blaze of notoriety 
Mr. George actually laid the foundations of 
regard. It was seen that he did not merely 
enrage the people, but he faced them. His 
voice was drowned. in the storm of hate, but 
the man himself was there a single man, with 
arms outstretched, appealing to a nation. He 
certainly risked his very life for the cause he 
pleaded or for himself. If that was a cal- 
culated act, it was a very clever one. Some 
put it down at that. Others believed that the 
man was in sheer earnest, and was staking his 
life against his message. At any rate, all came 
to admit that here was a man of fine courage. 

A Man of Emotions 3 

He was wrong of course he was outrageously 
wrong but he played a man's part. While 
the people debated as to whether Mr. Lloyd 
George was a play-actor or a fanatic, the 
flood of limelight increased. One advan- 
tage had been gained. The man had proved 
his courage. There was no longer any shame 
in arguing for the honesty of his motives, 
although both disputants believed that they 
were loathsome to the point of being traitorous. 

Perhaps one might state the people's esti- 
mate of Mr. George at this period as being .. 
" He is a fearless man. He is horribly wrong, 
but he honestly believes that he is right." 

First impressions are often the longest lived ; 
and when they are made in breathless minutes 
of suspense, they are burnt in on the brain. 

At that time Mr. Lloyd George was a prob- 
lem in personality with the British people. 
He first, dramatically, came before them as 
such. And they have looked upon him in that 
way ever since. The man has always come 
first. tl Fearless, if wrong." His motives have 
come second, and the verdict on them has 
varied. He championed the Boers against his 
own race. That was obviously wrong ; but it 
might easily have been honest. He produced 
"The People's Budget/' declared a class-war, 
and became the evangelist of the poor and 
immediately their idol. That, we hope, was 

4 The Real Lloyd George 

honest ; but he certainly was not right. As we 
shall prove later, the poor have been paying 
for that ever since. But even then, in the hey- 
day of the budget's resounding favour, the 
man towered above his message. The cheers 
were for Lloyd George, just as the hisses are 
to-day. The budget itself was but the stalking- 
horse, just as was the Insurance Act. 

The personality of the man has a challenge 
which has brought a whole nation to the 
salute. It is arresting and dominating. His 
motives have always had the virtue of being 
intensely arguable. The doubts which have 
hedged them in, and the controversies which 
have centred on them, have given the man the 
advertisement of an Academy problem-picture. 
But what about his methods ? 

Between the acts of a play the spectators 
have time to think. Mr. Lloyd George, when 
on the stage, stifles thought with frenzy. He 
sweeps his audience with him. He has an 
uncanny grip on all the prejudices which men 
form to excuse their own failure or to belittle 
the success of others. 

But when the curtain is down . . . ? What 
is there but the echo of lines spoken magnifi- 
cently words that burned. What but the 
memory of action which perplexed, and fasci- 
nated by its very perverseness ; which almost 
persuaded against better judgment ; what is 

A Man of Emotions 5 

there left but these memories when the curtain 
comes down ? 

There is still the situation the impossible, 
intolerable situation. 

The words were beautiful ; the acting was 
thrilling ; the motives were admirable ; the 
emotions were creditable to a degree ; but the 
mess is abominable. 

After all, politicians, like pickle-merchants, 
are judged by what they put on the market, 
and not by their advertisements. The man, 
his motives, his emotions are all of secondary 
importance. They should never have domi- 
nated. His methods and the results are what 
count. If they are sound and successful they 
help ; if not, they hurt. We are sure that Mr. 
George has hurt us very much all of us 
and the poorest the most. It is important that 
we should see when and how, and put ourselves 
on guard. 

In his recently published biography, Mr. 
Lloyd George's career is described as "an 
heroic progress as yet uncompleted' Much 
has happened since those words were written, 
and it may be that the prediction will be 
abruptly falsified. Whether that is so or not, 
Mr. George will never again be anything but a 
private Member of Parliament always pic- 
turesque, and generally a nuisance if only the 
nation will quietly take stock of his methods. 

6 The Real Lloyd George 

We have had our Lloyd George in power ; 
let us see what he has cost us and what he 
has given for the money. This same admiring 
biographer blandly assures us: "His life and 
character attract first of all by their glitter, 
and next, on a closer view, by their qualities 
of solidity and substance." The glitter cer- 
tainly is there, and it has always had the help 
of much limelight. " Glitter," however, is any- 
thing but a recommendation to those in need 
of a reliable public servant, and we turn with 
anxiety to find "the qualities of solidity and 
substance " which, after all, are the business. 

We shall prove that in all Mr. Lloyd George's 
career there has not been a vestige of evidence 
of " solidity and substance." They have never 
been there, they are not there, and they never 
will be there. Mr. Lloyd George would never 
have achieved his notoriety had they been 
there. He came in dark, dull days with his 
"glitter," and we took him from his pedestal 
and put him in an office. He might have been 
a Welsh bard, and we tried to make an adminis- 
trator of him. We brought him from dreams 
to blue-books ; from rhetorical phrases to 
figures. He is the Finance Minister of the 
world's greatest Empire, and he does not know 
the difference between an investment and a 
speculation. This unhappy man, who has 
been condemned to budget for a nation, is 

A Man of Emotions 7 

such a stranger to forethought and finance, 
that he even buys shares for himself when he 
is unprepared to pay for them. 

Of course he is a genius. That is incontes- 
table. And that alone should have won for 
him less inconsiderate treatment. He is a 
genius, and so, of course, is Mr. Harry Lauder, 
and for the matter of that Mr. Danny Maher 
in his way. But the good Maher is only a 
genius on horseback, and would make a poor 
show indeed on the Treasury Bench. No one 
can successfully defy nature. Leave Mr. Lauder 
behind his footlights, keep Mr. Maher on his 
racecourses, and do release Mr. Lloyd George 
for harmless and beautiful dreaming amongst 
his native mountains. 

Mr. Lloyd George's career, with its dramatic 
success and its pitiable failure, is a condemna- 
tion of us, much more than it is of him. 

Doubtless he has given us of his very best. 
The fault is not his. It so happens, however, 
that we have stumbled on an epoch of flare 
and glare. It is a time when noise counts. 
And he brought us noise, and "glitter" too. 
He merely happened to be the foremost of 
those who have applied to the serious pursuit 
of politics the methods of the advertising agent. 
And he sold his goods once. He has now 
lost a market which he would never have 
gained had we been discreet buyers. 

8 The Real Lloyd George 

There is no mystery about statesmanship. 
A great statesman is merely a supremely good 
business man operating on a gigantic scale. 
Recently a business firm took a politician into 
trade, and the Government, by way of en- 
couragement, gave that politician a peerage. 
And that is as it should be, seeing that business 
men often get peerages when they go into 
politics. The connection between statesman- 
ship and business is very close very close 
indeed, just now. The only real distinction is 
in the matter of rewards. Business men take 
what they make, and statesmen work for the 
country. At least, they did in the good old 
days, when we were guileless and wireless. 

The relation between statesmanship and 
business is not a coincidence : it is a necessity. 
Ministers are heads of Departments manned by 
swarms of officials. The nation's business has 
to be done in each Department, just as private 
business must be done by each firm. If the 
Minister in charge is inefficient, the result is 
simply deplorable. 

The ordinary Member of Parliament, more- 
over, is wholly incapable of doing his work 
unless he is a business man. In addition to 
his duties in the House, he has work on Com- 
mittees which quickly tests his training and 
equipment. These are truths which hitherto 
seem to have escaped the consideration of the 

A Man of Emotions 9 

electors. The M.P. is too often chosen because 
he is a good speaker, or because he has money 
and to spare and does spare it. As a fact, 
rhetoric in Parliament is the last thing wanted, 
and spendthrifts in the constituencies are not 
necessarily sound economists in the House. 

Mr. Lloyd George from first to last is ' 
nothing but a great speaker. He has a hawk's 
eye for a prejudice and no thought for a prin- 
ciple. He is luxuriously emotional and sterile 
of judgment. He is a mere opportunist. His 
policy is a weft of catch-cries and phrases. 
He sets the fashion of a day the day on 
which he speaks. He never looks back for 
the guidance of the past, nor ahead to escape 
the nemesis of the future. 

Frankly, he is all emotions and no balance. 
His attempts at constructive work have been 
pitiable fiascos. So it was with the People's 
Budget and the Insurance Act, of which much 
hereafter. And so it would assuredly be with 
the Land Campaign if ever the chance came. 
Nowhere could one find a finer salesman ; 
but as a producer or an administrator Mr. 
George is impossible. 

He has not the aptitude for statesmanship, 
nor yet has he had the advantage of any train- 
ing. He is wanting in patience, and, like 
every egotist, chafes at advice. If he enters 
on a difficult task, he believes that salvation 

io The Real Lloyd George 

is to be found in the gag and guillotine, 
imagines that imperfections are remedied if 
only they are not discovered. It is difficult 
to regard him as a statesman at all. State- 
craft is with him but a juggler's outfit. Politics 
are but an opportunity for self-revelation. The 
question is not, "What should be done?" 
The question always is, " What will he do ? " 

Genius of this type should be shunned like 
the plague. Certainly it cannot live under 
the same heaven with democratic government. 
It is autocracy gone mad. It is egotism blind 
and shrieking with a bludgeon in the hand. 

Mr. George would iiave stopped the war 
at any stage on any terms. He sided with 
the Boers against the whole British nation. 
Had he happened to have been in power, he 
would have flouted the nation and stopped 
the war. 

The Insurance Act is the egotist's last gift 
at our expense. Mr. Lloyd George decided 
in favour of National Insurance, and was 
good enough to determine who should be 
insured, how they should be insured, what 
they should be made to pay, and what bene- 
fits were best for them. He cheerfully did 
the nation's thinking, put his own ideas into 
statute form, drove the Bill through Parlia- 
ment, and awaited a whirlwind of " God bless 
yous." When they did not come, he was 

A Man of Emotions n 

surprised, and sent emissaries through the 
land to " explain " the provisions of an Act 
which ought never to have been law unless 
it was first approved of by the people. 

Such a man and such methods arc obvi- 
ously a peril to the community. Yet the 
outrage was inevitable. And with Mr. George, 
egotist and autocrat, in power, a similar ex- 
perience may await us at any moment. Mr. 
George's genius is elementary and uncontrol- 
lable. It is inspired by a blind and unfalter- 
ing faith in Mr. George. The nation can no 
more bow him to its will than can the navi- 
gator direct the winds. 

Are we to let this dreamer write up our 
statute book while we tl tremble and obey ? " 



MR. LLOYD GEORGE is what he is largely 
because of what he was. He was born amidst 
poverty, and until he reached man's estate he 
was a poor lad amidst poor people. But 
poverty has had many another voice to plead 
for her from the high places, and that service 
alone would not have won eminence for an 
unknown man from Wales. 

The distinction is, I think, this. Other men 
have appealed to the rich to help the poor. 
Mr. George pleaded direct with the poor to 
help themselves at the expense of the well- 

Also, there is a quality in his oratory which 
his own past life has bestowed on him. 
Although he has left poverty behind him, 
his mental outlook and manner of expression 
are still those of the man in straitened cir- 
cumstances. He is mentally incapable of 
taking any but the poor man's point of view. 
He is mentally incapable of using language 
other than what a poor man breaking into 

Efficiency Sacrificed for Effect 13 

eloquence would employ. He has his eye 
on the crowd always, but he cannot help it. 
He has the mind and the soul of the crowd. 
For his party he is an invaluable editor of a 
popular edition of policy. On the platform 
he is a superb interpreter, and translates the 
meaningless, stilted periods of other leaders 
into words which hit home every time. 

But these qualities have their defects, and 
those defects are fatal to statesmanship. Mr. 
George only excels with the crowd because 
he knows no other public. His outlook and 
range have been limited by the circumstances 
of his life. There is evidence to show that 
they are every whit as pitiably narrow to-day. 
A man has to set out early in life to walk 
beyond the barriers of his natural environ- 
ment. Else they grow higher, and the lands 
without seem to be farther ; and he himself 
becomes satisfied with the shadow that he 

Frankly, the effect of poverty on Mr. 
George's life has been disappointing. From 
a man of his magnetism one might have ex- 
pected an appeal to the world's conscience 
instead of a crude and futile class-war. This, 
however, is a matter of method, and is solely 
traceable to the rigid setting of his early 
years. Environment hemmed him in then, 
and he has been content to be a king in his 

14 The Real Lloyd George 

own kingdom rather than win a larger under- 
standing through service in a bigger world. 

But think of that early life in a Welsh 
village ! What a parched land of ideas ! We 
hear but little of books and less of thinkers. 
And those who had read a little, and probably 
talked much, were all of the same mould. 
Their religion came from the little chapel and 
all else was anathema. Their politics from 
one source the same. Even the Christ of 
their narrow creed one writes it with rever- 
ence was shrouded in the Party Colours. 

Against the pitiable littleness of that life, a 
man who had real bigness in him would have 
revolted. Young Lloyd George did nothing 
of the kind. He was foremost in parson- 
baiting, and ruled out all other doctrines but 
his own as the inventions of the devil. His 
politics he took without questioning from 
those about him. He never dreamt of think- 
ing for himself in those days ; and now he is 
anxious to prevent us from thinking either. 
We are to take his views and his laws just as 
he did. He became the mere mouthpiece and 
the intellectual serf of his uncle. 

Of course he got talking early. He spoke 
in chapel and from the Radical platform, and 
probably delivered the same speeches in both 
places. In politics he was a hack and sought 
to catch the ear of influence by servile ortho- 

Efficiency Sacrificed for Effect 15 

doxy and excessive virulence. When he was 
most uncharitable he made a plentiful use of 
the Scriptures. 

There are thousands of men in the Free 
Churches who have been doing the same 
thing for years. They are all Lloyd Georges 
without the touch of genius. 

And that is the tragedy of it all. Mr. George 
indeed has genius but he is a politician in a 
straight-waistcoat. He has no eyes to see 
anything but the sights that are familiar. He 
has no mind to range beyond habitual themes 
and the problems of the poor men amongst 
whom he lived. If his Bethels had been 
burnt ; if he had formed his own impressions, 
and better still had found the stimulus of great 
minds, he would have been a great man for 
all men. Instead of that, he has come with 
knowledge on a single line, and has gone 
down before the onset of lesser men with a 
wider outlook, and has been disowned by 
even his own people. That he should preach 
the class-war was the inevitable outcome of 
his upbringing. His politics, after all, were 
only prejudices. That he should fail in the 
class-war is a tribute to the greater sagacity 
of the crowd. 

The crowd always distrusts a man who is a 
man of the crowd. Tradition still counts. 

There is much that is profoundly unsatis- 

1 6 The Real Lloyd George 

factory in the published account of his earlier 
years. We all know that in youth enthusiasm 
is at its highest. Insincerity and cynicism 
may or may not come later. We had expected 
to find in the early speeches of this evangelist 
of poverty a burning zeal and a message with 
a ring in it. There really seems to be no 
message at all. The speeches are merely the 
platform efforts of the hack tub-thumper, and 
the man who made them never seems to ask 
what was their effect on the movement. He 
is solely concerned with the impression he 
personally made, and every speech is voted 
good or bad according to its effect on his 
personal carieer. 

There is only one word which describes the 
evidence on this point, and that is the word 

Here are some instances from the recent 
biography. The meetings were held in the 
year 1885 : 

" Rough audience, had good hearing, spoke 
with much fire and impetuosity." 

Then again, on the 3oth January, he an- 
nounced the receipt of a letter from Mr. 
W. Jones, who said : 

" That he had general praise of me amongst 
the workmen." 

Then on the 3rd February : 

" However, it was not encouraging to get 

Efficiency Sacrificed for Effect 17 

up after such a speech, especially as the 
audience marched away in troops during the 
proposal of my resolution speech. However, 
I got up, and, as A. J. Parry told me after- 
wards, immediately I had delivered two or 
three sentences, several who had started out 
sat down again and listened ; in fact, so he 
said, I was better listened to than the majority 
of the speakers. Several congratulated me, 
especially A. J. P. He assures me that I will 
make an effective speaker." 

Not a word, mind you, as to what he said, 
or the good that he hoped to attain, or even 
his hope that he had attained any good at all. 
He merely reports the limelight. 

Again : li On March 28 spoke between 40 
and 45 minutes, with much ease, and in the 
end with much fire." 

April 26 : " Local Option meeting at Port 
Medoc. Town Hall full. Mr. White from 
Manchester was there. I proposed the second 
resolution and got on fairly well, I think." 

This modesty was short-lived, however. Mr. 
Lloyd George evidently felt that he had not 
done himself sufficient justice, and so on 
April 29 we get the following : 

" Further report of the same meeting : Was 
told that my Local Option address was highly 
praised at Port Medoc. Spoke in the chapel 
to-day on < Faith without Works.' " 


1 8 The Real Lloyd George 

There is something to make us pause in that 
title, " Faith without Works." 

If in 1885 Mr. Lloyd George knew enough 
of that subject to address a fairly large meet- 
ing upon it, he has since then perfected his 
knowledge. A highly charitable epitaph for 
him would be "Faith without Works." It 
sums up most of his great adventures. 

One can almost imagine that he said in the 
case of the budget, or in that of the Insurance 
Act, or perhaps in both : " These are colossal 
schemes. I, at any rate, have faith in them, 
and I am their author, and I will make great 
speeches about them, and I will make others 
have faith in them too, and above all in me, 
and then when we all have faith in them and 
in me, we shall at least hope that they may 
work out all right." 

We are compelled to take a grave view of 
these extracts. They ring and ring again with 
self. Did self die in that period, and if so, 
when and why ? If self did not die, how 
much of self is there in the Lloyd George of 
to-day ? 

Was the attitude in the war simply taken 
for the reason that it would win an instant 
and gigantic notoriety for self ? That attitude 
certainly duped the Boer leaders and pro- 
longed the conflict, and perhaps doubled the 
slaughter, the wounds, and the suffering. If 

Efficiency Sacrificed for Effect 19 

that attitude was conscientiously come to and 
honestly assumed, it was lamentable. If it 
was for self, it was simply devilish. 

Again, in the budget and Insurance Act 
periods self is transparently present. Mr. 
Lloyd George picturesquely presented himself 
as Moses, to lead the people into the promised 
land. And his speeches were full of himself 
and he wrote of himself. He took every care 
that Moses showed brilliantly in the limelight. 

There is an extract from his diary dated 
June 2, 1883, which is printed in the Biog- 
raphy : 

"Tit-bit poetry in Carnarvon and Denbigh 
Herald, referring to my thirst for renown, &c. 
Perhaps (?) it will be gratified. I believe it 
depends mainly on what forces of pluck and 
industry I can muster." 

That extract is an ominous piece of self- 

When was that " thirst for renown " sated ? 
Does it still burn a parched throat ? Nothing 
in all the world could condone the hideous 
wrong done during the war or extenuate the 
loss caused to the workers by the crude failure 
of the budget and the Insurance Act but 
honesty. If these were but exploits in quest 
of renown, then until we rid ourselves of the 
adventurer we shall not be safe. 

Probably the just and true decision would 

2O The Real Lloyd George 

be that in Mr. George's career there is a great 
deal of self, and at the same time much sym- 
pathy for others. One can believe that he 
wakes up one morning and reads too much 
about some rival Minister in the papers. 
"We must get going or drop out," he may 

And he gets going. 

He finds a prejudice and builds a campaign 
on it. And he makes the campaign and the 
campaign makes him. One thing is certain : 
little things do not interest him. The quiet, 
unadvertisable, necessary work is left alone. 
His eye is for effect and not efficiency. One 
cannot help thinking that even the contem- 
plation of his own funeral would be a delight 
to him, if only he could read the newspapers 
in the morning. 

But that is not the stuff out of which we 
should make our statesmen I 



ON April n, 1890, Mr. Lloyd George was 
returned to Parliament as the member for 
Carnarvon. His majority was 18. 

His Election Address is before me the 
address upon which he won twenty-three 
years ago. Twenty-three years have passed 
and not a single one of the electoral pledges 
set forth in that document has been fulfilled. 

According to that address, Carnarvon was 
invited to return Mr. George so that legislation 
might be secured on the following matters : 

Home Rule for Ireland. 

Home Rule for Wales. 

Welsh Disestablishment and Disendowment. 

Land Transfer. 

Enfranchisement of Leaseholds. 

The Direct Veto in Temperance. 

One Man One Vote. 

A Free Breakfast-table. 

Since 1890 the Liberal Party has held office 
for more than ten years. The men who voted 

22 The Real Lloyd George 

for Mr. Lloyd George in 1890 have indeed 
" come empty away." The Election Address 
should be a classic example of the worthless- 
ness of Radical promises. It was certainly 
a characteristic send-off for the man who was 
to prove himself in later years the foremost 
pledge-breaker in politics. 

The speeches in which these legislative 
white elephants were paraded before credu- 
lous Welshmen have not been preserved. 
Public men owe far more to forgetfulness 
than they do to remembrance. 

But there is one passage from one speech 
which is illuminating. 

" The Tories forgot [said Mr. George] that 
they were not now living in the seventeenth 
century. He had once heard a man wildly 
declaiming against Mr. Tom Ellis as a 
parliamentary representative. According to 
that man, Mr. Ellis's disqualification consisted 
mainly in the fact that he had been brought 
up in ' a cottage.' The Tories had not yet 
realised that the day of the cottage-bred men 
had at last dawned." 

This may be taken as the first recorded 
shot in Mr. George's class-war. Had the 
sentiment been amplified no doubt it was 
in the speech itself, and probably in many 
of the others the appeal would have been : 

"I am a cottage-bred man. So are you. 

Parliamentary Beginnings 23 

The men who live in big houses are against 
us. Wealth and culture are the enemy. You 
and I must fight against them and enter into 
the kingdom from which we have for so long 
been ousted. The day of the cottage-bred 
men has dawned." 

Under analysis the appeal becomes sheer 
illogical nonsense. It is one of those intensely 
personal irrelevancies which are always to 
be found as the basis of all the Lloyd Georgian 

The "cottage-bred" man suggests oppres- 
sion and denial ; humble beginnings and vast 
possibilities unrealised. This same " cottage- 
bred " man is set up as a class antagonist to 
do and prevail against all who are not "cottage- 
bred" men. It is to be "cottage-bred" men 
against the world. 

Yes, but what is the fight to be about ? The 
conflict is not between men but measures. 
It is not cottages battling with mansions, but 
cause against cause. If we select any one or 
all of the proposals in Mr. Lloyd George's 
Election Address, not one of them would be 
any more beneficent or any less injurious 
whether they were carried by cottagers or 

The "cottage-bred" men might, it is true, 
have a programme of their own as against 
the squires, and they might rally to it more 

24 The Real Lloyd George 

readily if they were spoken of as " cottage- 
bred" and the squires were damned as 
" squires." But the issues in that programme 
would never have fair trial if the contest 
became a personal encounter between one 
class and another. The welfare of the whole 
country can only be sustained if all sections 
of the community act fairly towards one 
another. This fine balance becomes instantly 
impossible when one side is poisoned with 
prejudice and advances a claim which is 

Of course, a man's place of breeding is for 
some purposes quite important. If we want 
fighters we believe that the average lad from 
the mountains is better than a boy from the 
slums. But if a man is to do brainwork, 
it is immaterial whether he is bred in a 
cottage or a palace. All his needs are per- 
sonal. His aptitude must be developed, his 
mind broadened and stimulated. Books may 
help him vastly, but some wise, patient friends, 
a man or two of knowledge, will help him 
much more. It has in the past been the 
tragedy of the " cottage-bred " that they have 
been condemned to intellectual isolation. And 
this was so in Mr. Lloyd George's own case. 

I give his own testimony an extract from 
a speech which he made in his own village 
in 1900 : 

Parliamentary Beginnings 25 

"Yonder smithy was my first parliament, 
where night after night we discussed and 
decided all the abstruse questions relating 
to this world and the next, in politics, in 
theology, in philosophy, and science. There 
was nothing too wide and comprehensive for 
us to discuss, and we settled all the problems 
amongst us without the slightest misgiving." 

Of course they did. And Mr. Lloyd George 
has been doing the same thing ever since. 
You will notice that politics come before 
theology in his ordering. The disputants' 
knowledge of both subjects and of all the 
others must have been appallingly meagre. 
Ignorance wrangled with Ignorance, and 
Prejudice was in waiting to close the path 
to Truth. 

From "yonder smithy" Mr. George prob- 
ably gained his aptitude in debate, and, as 
likely as not, his plausibility. It was a training- 
ground in mental agility, but anything but 
a temple of knowledge. If the " cottage- 
bred" has no study and no instructor, he 
can hope to be nothing better than a word- 
twister. Nothing can be sadder than the 
limitations which that cottage-breeding has 
imposed on the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
His outlook is still to-day as narrow as is 
his range of knowledge. 

Many of those who have read what I have 

26 The Real Lloyd George 

just written will be thinking of the parlia- 
mentary Labour Party. They, like Mr. 
George, are specialists on one subject. They, 
like him, know the crowd and speak in its 
language. Some folk seem to imagine that 
Mr. George invented Limehouse. Why, there 
has been Limehouse and I think better 
Limehouse from the platform, ever since 
Labour first found its tongue. But what 
has the parliamentary Labour Party done 
to make good the claim of the cottage-bred ? 
They who should have been law-makers are 
merely witnesses. They can speak and 
most of them very well of the wrongs to 
be righted, but they have not the vaguest 
notion of the way in which matters can be 
put right. Their record condemns them for 
the utter futility of their constructive pro- 
posals. And in Parliament they have achieved 
nothing except the loss of their original 
identity. They have been so weak and 
sterile that they have had to clutch at the 
Radical programme to lead the electors to 
believe that they are even doing anything 
at all. 

Of course, all classes should be represented 
amongst the law-makers, and poverty should 
stay no man from the public service. But 
efficiency should, amongst all classes, be the 
first qualification for membership. Our civil- 

Parliamentary Beginnings 27 

isation is complex, and there is no proposal, 
however small, but it has effects in most cases 
widening and accumulative and difficult to 
foresee, upon the other sections of the com- 
munity. This is why no man of a narrow 
range can succeed in politics. He sets out 
to help one class, and he hurts that class for 
the reason that he has hit all the others. This 
is why Mr. George has failed, and it is the 
reason why the Labour Party has not suc- 
ceeded, and it is also the reason why at certain 
periods the historic parties have also failed 
in their duty to the working-classes. 

The historic parties are denounced by Labour 
for their class -legislation. Yet the Labour 
Party are solely in Parliament to achieve class- 
legislation, and are incapable of even doing 

And Mr. George has from start to finish 
been a class-legislator. And he has only 
succeeded in doing woeful injury to the very 
class he professed to help. 

Mr. George's parliamentary beginnings were 
characteristic. He caught up the echoes of 
his stump-oratory in Wales and let them re- 
sound again in St. Stephens. 

Those were the days of the Coercion Act in 
Ireland. Mr. George thrilled Sir Wilfrid 
Lawson with the suggestion that there should 
be " a Coercion Act for publicans." It should 

28 The Real Lloyd George 

be armed "with all the modern appliances, 
such as Star Chambers, inquiries, informers, 
'shadows,' and removable magistrates. He 
believed that very few publicans would sur- 
vive it." 

What a glorious time he would have had in 
his later years had he killed "the trade." 
Why, his budgets have lived on it. He might 
have been condemned in despair to place a 
tax on investments in rhetoric, and specula- 
tions in wild abuse, with a super-tax on lime- 

His next oration was an attack on Royalty 
in exquisitely bad taste. 

But he was busy in the country. He had 
won a bye-election of importance. The 
Radicals have ever had an eye on young 
men who can talk, and they keep them busy 
when they find them. Mr. Lloyd George 
was quickly in great demand in the country. 
He went up and down to big meetings. The 
cheers of the crowd were the breath of his 

This, frankly, was a disaster to the young 
man's career. He measured his success in 
cheers. Once again fortune had snatched 
from him the chance of study. He became 
all froth and no body. His one object was 

In 1891 the Tithe Bill provided him with 

Parliamentary Beginnings 29 

congenial occupation. He was very busy 
upon it, speaking often. All his bitter pre- 
judice against other men's religious beliefs 
bubbled up into boiling invective. There 
was, however, a dramatic set-back to his 
attack on the Established Church. When the 
Clergy Discipline Bill was before the House 
in 1892, his virulent intervention in the debate 
was rewarded with a terrible trouncing from 
his own leader, Mr. Gladstone. None the less 
Wales was charmed with him. When the 
1892 dissolution came, he returned gaily to 
his constituents. Not one of the pledges in 
his address had been fulfilled ; he had 
achieved nothing to make anyone's lot 
lighter. What did it matter? He had 
made many speeches. He had found bitter 
biting words for old hates. And he was 
returned with an increased majority. 

The Radical Government which took office 
in 1892 and fell in 1895 did not find in Mr. 
George a wholly reliable supporter. He was 
busy on a policy of his own. Mr. Tom Ellis 
had been made a junior Lord of the Treasury. 
Mr. Ellis was the leader of the Welsh members, 
and as soon as he was silenced by the accept- 
ance of office the way was clear for Mr. 

And Mr. George lost no time in advancing 

30 The Real Lloyd George 

the cause of Welsh Nationalism. He de- 
manded Home Rule for Wales, to the con- 
siderable embarrassment of many of the 
Liberal Party. Still he won a resounding 
popularity in Wales, even if he was a nuisance 
in the Liberal Whips' room. On the other 
hand, his violent support of the Bill to Dis- 
establish and Disendow the Church in Wales 
may have somewhat rounded the edge of 
official disapproval. 

On August u, 1895, the Government fell. 
For eleven years the Radicals were to be in 
opposition. And Mr. George's whole mental 
equipment is limited to destructive criticism. 
He was to have the, chance of his life. And 
he certainly took it. 

At the polls he was returned with a majority 
practically unchanged. The hateful Tories 
were in power, and he hurried back to West- 
minster to tilt at the enemy and incidentally 
make his own reputation stronger. 



ONE of the first achievements of the new 
Unionist Government was the passing of the 
Agricultural Rates Act. This measure was 
denounced by the Radicals as " a dole to the 
landlords/' and was furiously opposed. Mr. 
Lloyd George was, of course, in the forefront 
of the calumniators. Mr. Chaplin was in 
charge of the bill, and Mr. George accused 
him over the floor of the House of promoting 
legislation by which he, Mr. Chaplin, would 
personally benefit to the extent of ^700 a year. 
Mr. Chaplin indignantly denied the assertion ; 
but Mr. George declined to withdraw, and 
even became bolder. Quivering with indig- 
nation, he shouted: "A capital value of two 
millions and a quarter will be added to the 
property of members of the Ministry." And 
on what, if you please, did he base this two 
and a quarter million indictment of corrup- 
tion ? It was his first big adventure in false 
figures in the House of Commons. 

He first of all assumed that the landlord 

32 The Real Lloyd George 

would intercept the rate relief which was pro- 
vided for the tenant. As a matter of fact, that 
did not happen, and never has happened under 
the Act. Then he took a highly imaginary 
estimate of what ministerial landlords or their 
tenants paid in rates, and capitalised that total 
on a basis which yielded an attractive result. 
The allegation was as audacious as it was 
unscrupulous. Mr. George has since improved 
on the method so far as sheer mendacity goes. 
During the final stages of the . bill he was 

When Mr. George scents a landlord he sees 
red. He was utterly and scandalously wrong 
in his charges. But that, seemingly, did not 
matter. They were good enough for limelight 

The extent to which he was in error will be 
seen from the following facts. 

The Act merely embodied the recommenda- 
tions of a Royal Commission appointed by the 
Radicals themselves. 

In 1905, on the eve of a General Election, 
when the same Act came before the House 
for renewal after being in operation for eleven 
years, no Front Bench Radical challenged a 
division on the second reading, and only 59 
Radicals went into the Lobby against the bill. 

The Radicals have been in office for the last 
seven years, and the Act is still in force. 

The Lloyd George Method 33 

There is a volume of evidence from Radicals 
who sit for agricultural constituencies to 
prove that the Act is a blessing ; that it has 
not filled the pockets of landlords at all, but 
it has been and is of great help to agriculture. 
For many years before this Act was passed 
agricultural wages had been stationary. Fol- 
lowing upon the Act wages rose about ten per 
cent, in the next few years. 

That Mr. George should have been wrong 
in his facts and his conclusions is no matter 
for wonder. That he should have rounded 
off his rhetoric with a wild charge of whole- 
sale corruption is only what the experience of 
later years has taught us to expect. He was 
hunting for flame-food ; something on which 
prejudice could gorge itself. He found it as 
he always does. It would be wise, however, 
for agriculturists to remember that if Mr. 
George had had his way in 1896, they would 
have had no Agricultural Rates Act. 

In recent years we have listened to many a 
denunciation from Mr. George on the iniquity 
of obstruction. He himself reduced obstruc- 
tion to a fine art. Irrespective of right or 
wrong, his knowledge or ignorance on any 
subject, when he was in Opposition he did 
his utmost to make Government progress 


34 The Real Lloyd George 

I give an extract from a letter of his under 
date March 27, 1896, the whole of which is 
published .in his Biography : 

" They thought they might get a bill called 
the Military Manoeuvres Bill before midnight, 
but I soon developed a keen interest in soldiering. 
I moved an amendment on the spur of the 
moment. Lowther would not allow it because 
it was not strictly in order. Very well. I 
altered it at once. He then had to take it. 
I divided, and the bill was talked out. The 
Under- Secretary for War came to me just 
now to say that he would be most willing to 
meet my views on the subject if I had any 
objection to any part of the bill. Thafs the 
way to play the game. My blood is now up. 
I hadn't warmed to it before" 

(The italics are ours.) 

And his blood was up. He certainly "played 
the game " ! His prolonged obstruction over 
the years was amazingly ingenious and 
equally shameful. 

In 1897 the Voluntary Schools Bill and the 
Irish Local Government Bill provided fresh 
scope for him, and in the case of the latter he 
made again some of those charges of personal 
interest which always seem to give him especial 
delight. While the Radical Party was wrang- 
ling over the leadership troubles, he was 
fighting for his prejudices. In those days he 

The Lloyd George Method 35 

was tireless ; never missing a chance ; not 
minding at all where he hit, or how he hit, or 
when he hit. His pertinacity was admirable. 
His methods were disgraceful. He was an 
apache in Parliament. 

And all the while he was fighting for re- 
cognition, and for that alone. He had no 
constructive proposals whatever to offer. He 
merely opposed and obstructed with one eye 
on the crowd, while the other was blinded by 

His party was under a cloud, and he 
doubtless shared its depression. Failure's 
heaviest penalty in his eyes is the personal 
effect on himself. The Opposition of which 
he was a member was doing badly ; it was 
rent by dissensions. His own causes, Home 
Rule for Wales and the assault on the Welsh 
Church, were making no progress at all. But 
whatever the fate of movements, the man 
Lloyd George must be in the fore. Audacity 
of interposition and vitriolic invective would 
achieve that, at any rate. 

It is a relief to turn from this branch of 
his activities to another. In May 1899, the 
Unionist Government appointed a Select Com- 
mittee to inquire into Old Age Pensions. The 
majority of the members of it were Unionists, 
and Mr. George was one of those who were 
chosen to represent the Opposition. When 

36 The Real Lloyd George 

the final division was taken on the Report, 
Mr. George voted with the majority in other 
words, it was the official Unionist solution of 
the problem which he favoured. And that 
solution was, with variations, the basis of the 
Old Age Pensions Act. 

Thus we see that the first constructive 
measure of his later years was a scheme for 
which he was indebted to his political oppon- 
ents. They did the builder's work, and he 
took the credit of the edifice. 

This movement for Old Age Pensions marks 
a turning-point in his political objective. 
Never before had he interested himself in 
any definite attempt to repair the social fabric. 
He had, at last, come to the politics of the 
hearth. With such a man the new possibili- 
ties of this class of effort would unfold them- 
selves quickly. Hitherto he had had an ear 
for applause ; now he had an eye on the 
ballot-box. He was to start well. With Old 
Age Pensions he was able to offer the voters 
" something for nothing." In the budget the 
idea was developed, and indeed he believed 
that he had improved on it. Under the 
budget the crowd was again to be promised 
"something for nothing," with the added 
attraction that the wicked lords, and grasping 
landowners, and depraved brewers were to 
pay for it. Later, with the Insurance Act the 

The Lloyd George Method 37 

old method became complex. Having regard 
to the fact that the people were laid under 
contribution, it was impossible to dupe them 
into the belief that they got benefits without 
paying for them. But the juggler's resources 
were not exhausted. What was easier than 
to tell them that they were trading on mag- 
nificent terms. "You are getting nmepence 
for fourpence," was the cry. 

"We are paying you our fourpences/' is 
the answer. "We are not getting what you 
promised, and you never asked us what we 
wanted. Let us spend our own money. What 
are our votes for ? " 

Surely it would have been better for Mr. 
George himself if he had recognised his limi- 
tations and been content to remain merely a 
brilliant nuisance as a party hack. His own 
constructive work the Old Age Pensions 
Scheme was not his own has never been 
anything but a bid for votes by an appeal to 
cupidity. That he, of all men, should with 
his Insurance Act dip in the poor man's 
pocket is an outrage which Demos will neither 
forgive nor forget. 

It is hardly safe just now to be seen carry- 
ing a copy of his life. 



ON October n, 1899, the Transvaal War 
began. The Unionists, of course, were in 
power, with the Liberals, led by Sir Henry 
Campbell-Bannerman, in Opposition. 

The following day the present Prime Min- 
ister, Mr. Asquith, made a speech at Newburgh, 
in which he said : 

"As regards our duty our duty, I will not 
say as party politicians, but as British citizens 
and patriots it seems to me to be clear. It is, 
in face of the emergency which has arisen, to 
stand together with an unbroken front, to see 
that, in this conflict which has been forced 
upon us, the prosecution of it upon our side 
should be with such promptitude and energy 
as to secure the most rapid and therefore the 
most merciful end ; and as far as in us lies, to 
enable our country to be victorious and mag- 
nanimous in victory." The Times, Oct. 13, 

It will be noted that Mr. Asquith at that 
time was one of Mr. Lloyd George's leaders. 

The Prince of Pro-Boers 39 

Mr. Asquith candidly admitted that the war 
had been forced upon us, and advised that 
mercy to the Boers was to be found in the 
rapid prosecution of it. Mr. Lloyd George, 
however, declined to accept the first con- 
clusion, and strenuously opposed his leader's 
advice on the second. 

It is unnecessary to weary the reader with 
quotations, but contemporary records prove 
that the views of Mr. Asquith were in favour 
with all that was reputable in the Radical 

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman expressed 
in the House of Commons his preparedness 
to vote supplies, and his party, as a party, 
gave their support to the war movement. 

But Mr. Lloyd George opposed the war. 


There are men who oppose all wars. The 
cocoa magnates have of late years bought 
newspapers and financed Members of Parlia- 
ment. There is no evidence that Mr. George 
was in the toils of the peace-at-any-price 
people. Indeed, we have read speeches of 
his which justify war under certain conditions. 
And seeing that in this case the Boers invaded 
our territory, it is difficult to understand how 
in principle Mr. George could justify his 
opposition at any rate in the early stages 
of the conflict. 

4O The Real Lloyd George 

His attitude is hailed by his biographer with 
relief. That gentleman lays great store by it. 
The war was amazingly popular, and Mr. 
George condemned it. How then could any 
man denounce the idol as being a dema- 
gogue ? A demagogue surely courts public 
favour and cringes to it. And Mr. George 
enraged the people by seeking to end a 
popular war. 

But let us see. 

It is clear that Mr. George realised that the 
war was vastly popular at the moment ; it is 
equally true, from the evidence, that he was 
convinced that in a very short time it would 
be profoundly unpopular. 

The biographer quotes an extract from a 
letter from Mr. George to his brother which 
was written in the summer of 1899,^, few 
months before the war broke out. I will 
quote it : 

" If we go to war with the Transvaal there 
will be no pensions. They are fools to quarrel 
with the Boers. // will ultimately be unpopular, 
as it is not only essentially an unjust quarrel, 
but what is more, from the point of view of 
the man in the street, an unprofitable one. 
There is neither gain nor glory in it at all 
adequate to the sacrifice." 

And there we have it in a sentence. The 
politician, who in his youthful days, on his 

The Prince of Pro-Boers 41 

own confession, had been consumed with a 
"thirst for renown" which subsequently had 
developed into a lust for notoriety, now is 
found deciding either for or against the war, 
according to the " gain and glory " which can 
be got out of it. This letter is clear evidence 
that before ever the war broke out Mr. George 
had come to the conclusion that it would 
"ultimately be unpopular." 

On October 27, on the occasion of the First 
War Debate in the House of Commons, Mr. 
George made a speech. He re-echoed there 
the opinion which he had expressed in his 
letter. He said : 

" He believed that there would be a reaction 
against the Government before long, when 
the country came to realise the true state of 
affairs, and that was why there was some 
hurry in holding bye-elections in this country 
just now." 

So we see that he not only believed himself 
that the war would become unpopular, but he 
was convinced that the Government shared 
his view. 

Again, on February 6, he announced in the 
House of Commons that : 

". . . The Government has landed the 
country in a great mess, and the best they 
can do is to get them out of it. / do not wish 
that the Liberal Party should get the opprobrium 

42 The Real Lloyd George 

of paying the enormous bill that has been in- 

A later passage in the same speech is even 
more striking evidence of Mr. Lloyd George's 
belief that the war would become unpopular. 
He went on to state : 

"The Colonial Secretary said that if the 
war was unjust and unrighteous it ought not 
to be prosecuted. That is the view taken not 
by a majority, but by a very strong body 
of the people in the country, and a growing 
one. Whatever line we take in this House, 
discussion will go on in the country in work- 
shops and factories until that conviction is 

Mr. George's opposition to the war was 
not a challenge to unpopularity, but a bold 
move for popularity. He weighed the chances 
and backed his opinion. He risked a stake 
to-day in order that he might win, as he be- 
lieved he would, to-morrow. 

He had been in the House for some years. 
He had done a vast amount of work. The 
picturesqueness of his appeals had won for 
him as much space in the Press as was given 
to a leader. He was indeed himself a leader 
in Wales, and his party was not happy in 
its leaders at Westminster. There were other 
men, older men, tried men, ahead of him. 
While he remained in the party ruck he must 

The Prince of Pro-Boers 43 

keep his appointed place and be content to 
tread on their heels. It was thus and then 
that the wonderful chance came. 

War had been declared. All the Conser- 
vatives supported it and all the Radical leaders 
supported the Conservatives. 

If he stood out alone. . . .? And if the 
war did become unpopular he would be the 
one man in politics who would be acclaimed 
for sound judgment. The crowd, with its 
hooting of to-day, would swing round to 
deafen him with cheers. And he alone would 
be able to say : 

" I told you so. I alone was right. I risked 
my very political life on my foresight. Heaven 
has indeed sent you a leader at last ! " 

Mr. George's attitude in the war was nothing 
but a gamble. And he has gambled since. 
He backed the outsider and meant to " scoop 
the pool/' And he never imagined he could 
lose. In those days he must have noted the 
manifestations of public feeling, just as the 
gambler watches the spin, waiting and wait- 

But he was wrong. The cheers were not 
for him. He had gambled and lost. 

What, then, was left to him ? The war was 
popular wildly popular. He could only re- 
trieve his fortunes by making it unpopular. 

And this he deliberately set himself to do. 

44 The Real Lloyd George 

There was no prejudice and no emotion of 
the public mind that he did not play upon. 

He denounced it as being a capitalists' war. 
British soldiers were giving their lives to win 
gold and diamonds for millionaires. Surely 
that would hit ? 

But the nation remembered President 
Kruger's ultimatum, with its studied insolenc^ 
and realised how the Uitlanders had been 
maltreated under the British Flag. And they 
still hooted. 

So Mr. George varied his indictment. It 
was a Chamberlain war. And Mr. Chamber- 
lain was Kynochs, and the more explosives 
there were used the bigger the dividends. 

The Kynoch legend was exploded, however, 
the very instant it saw the light. 

So on to the Concentration Camps and 
awful pictures of brutal treatment of women 
and children. 

And these in turn failed. 

In those days Mr. George was probably so 
desperate that he can scarcely have been 
responsible. Yet the Kynoch legend is a 
classic in its way, and is worth setting forth 
as an example of reckless untruthfulness. 

It was the development of a series of in- 
credibly bitter attacks on Mr. Chamberlain. 

In Wolverhampton, on April 23, 1901, Mr. 
George said : 

The Prince of Pro-Boers 45 

"This gentleman from Birmingham, who 
had made no personal sacrifices for the war, 
was the Mephistopheles of this play. He was 
the marplot who stopped the piece. If braver 
men than he were dying he was respon- 

Again, in Llangriths, October 18, 1901 : 

" We had raised a barrier of dead children's 
bodies between the British and the Boer races 
in South Africa. Who was responsible for 
this ? Who but Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, 
who had caused the war in the Transvaal." 

In Bristol, on January 6, 1902 : 

" Judas only finished himself, but ' this man ' 
had finished thousands. Mr. Chamberlain 
prevented peace. In South Africa people were 
murdering each other, and the price had to be 
paid by us and our children's children for 
generations. Meanwhile, Messrs. Kynoch and 
Co. had declared a ten per cent, bonus." 

At Llanelly, on October 7, 1901 : 

"Who is to blame? Not Lord Kitchener. 
The man who knew what war meant, and had 
gone through it and strove hard for peace. 
Nor is Lord Milner, who has seen the desola- 
tion that war has effected in South Africa, but 
there was a man who strolled among orchids 
six thousand miles away from the deadly bark 
of the Mauser rifle. At his door all these 
deaths lie Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, who 

46 The Real Lloyd George 

never faced the danger, sends thousands of 
braver men than himself to their death." 

Now what is the truth with regard to 
Kynoch ? Simply this. Mr. Chamberlain had 
not a single farthing in the firm, and used 
no influence whatever in their favour. The 
chairman of the firm did happen to be a 
Chamberlain Mr. Arthur Chamberlain, a well- 
known Radical, a brother, and strong political 
rival in the Midlands, of the Colonial Secretary. 
It was from Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, 
of all persons, that Mr. Arthur Chamberlain 
got his order. 

But that was near enough for Mr. George. 
One brother in the ordinary course of his 
business was supplying goods at prices ap- 
proved by the Government. The other brother 
had no more concern in the trade than had 
he Mr. Lloyd George himself. But mix 
them up together. At any rate, they bore 
the same surname. The public would not 

Surely tactics of that kind are merely ras- 
cally and an outrage on all decency. They 
brought, as one might expect, heated protests 
from his own leaders and his own Press. 
We may dismiss this disgusting incident with 
the impassioned rebuke which fell from Sir 
Edward Grey : 

11 He regretted as much as anyone could 

The Prince of Pro-Boers 47 

do the personal bitterness of the attacks that 
had been made on Mr. Chamberlain. To 
impute personal motives in public life, to utter 
hints and imputations about private affairs, 
could only come from a combination of malice 
and stupidity which ought to be resented 

Seeing that the Kynoch charge is being 
revived by way of a set-off or condonation of 
speculation in American Marconis, we deal 
fully with the facts and speeches in the follow- 
ing chapter. 

With regard to the refuge camps, Mr. 
George's charges were equally wild and in- 

In the House of Commons, on June 17, 1901, 
he spoke as follows : 

" How do we treat them [the refugees] ? 
Why, we half starve them. We give them bad 
food, no shelter, we clothe them badly . . . 
we deprive these poor women of everything, 
we herd them together in camps . . ." 

The reply to these accusations came instantly, 
and from Mr. George's own party. 

It will suffice if we quote from indignant 
leading articles in the Daily Chronicle, the 
principal Radical organ. 

Thus on June 21, 1901, the Daily Chronicle 
assured us that : 

"The British refugees have been, and are, 

48 The Real Lloyd George 

in even worse case than the Boers, and they 
get no sympathy from the anti-war fanatics." 

And again, on June 27, 1901, the Daily 
Chronicle announced : 

"There is again among all classes a pre- 
ponderating conviction that in spite of some 
blunders and regrettable incidents, the war 
has been conducted with full regard for the 
claims of humanity, and therefore a profound 
resentment against attacks, overt or implied, 
upon the so-called ' barbarism ' of the British 

On June 17, 1901, Mr. Haldane spoke in the 
House and repudiated Mr. George's views, 
and on June 20 Mr. Asquith did the same 
thing with even greater emphasis. 

Such issues as these were only Mr. George's 
side attacks. His frontal indictment of the 
war was that it was unrighteous and unneces- 
sary, and he addressed many meetings in his 
attempt to form a body of public opinion in 
support of that contention. 

He failed. But in one thing he succeeded. 
He led the Boers to imagine that the nation 
was divided, and encouraged them in a re- 
sistance which was as hopeless as it was tragic. 

That he deliberately set out to do this is 
proved by innumerable speeches. They are 
nauseating reading, and we trust that one will 

The Prince of Pro-Boers 49 

We will quote from his speech to the 
Palmerston Club at Oxford in January 1900 : 

" We have the whole of the civilised world 
banded in hostility to us. Lord Rosebery said 
the other day that Europe was unanimous in 
its opposition to us. He might have made an 
exception in the case of Turkey, which is 
sympathetic. As to America, four-fifths of the 
American press are opposed to us, and opinion 
there is growing very rapidly in favour of the 
Boers. They made an honest effort at the first 
to find some excuse for us, but the facts were 
too strong for them." 

What effect could such an utterance as this 
have when cabled out to South Africa except 
to prolong the conflict. The man who de- 
livered such a speech at such a time can lay 
no claim to statesmanship if he did not measure 
its consequences. If he did, it was an outrage 
to humanity. 

It now remains to sum up and pass judg- 
ment upon Mr. George's attitude towards the 
war. It was that of an opportunist. He was 
wrong ; but he was no less an opportunist for 
that. He was convinced that the war would 
become unpopular and he staked his career 
on that conclusion. He should pay the price. 

He opposed the war, and as a result of his 
opposition prolonged it. Lyddite killed many 
a man in South Africa, and so did Mr. George's 


50 The Real Lloyd George 

speeches. Again he should pay the price. 
He was wrong, and he tried to right himself 
to save his own repute at the cost of wounds, 
anguish, and death. Ah, it is a heavy price 
that he must pay ! 

And what of his claim to statesmanship ? 
Is this man fit to be a nation's leader ? 

Assuming that his view was right and that 
the war was unjust and unrighteous, what 
was the statesman's solution ? If the Boers 
gave way, their wrongs if they had any 
could have been redressed in the first settle- 
ment when peace came. That, and that only, 
was the time to plead. 

While the war lasted a war with a whole 
nation behind it an anti-war campaign was 
as merciless as it was futile. It merely pro- 
longed hostilities, and encouraged continued 

It meant more victims for the Mauser and 
less compassion at the finish. 

So much for the frontal attack. In every 
side-issue Mr. George was wrong and proved 
to be wrong by his own friends and party. 
He had the stupendous vanity to back his 
opinions against an Empire, and he fought on 
and on to poison the people's mind and win 
them to his side. 

It is impossible to say that he was fighting 
for anyone but Lloyd George. 

The Prince of Pro-Boers 51 

Disaster, death, the agony of thousands 
they were in the balance against the political 
career of a single man. 

No god of wood or stone in all the history 
of human sacrifices in the world's dark places 
has had such an offering of blood. And what 
he did then given the chance he will do 
again. It was so with the Insurance Act, only 
less so. He took his tribute in pence and not 
in life. That is his only difference. It was 
the same autocracy and the same autocrat. 

Democracy is no shibboleth. It is a safe- 
guard of freedom. And Mr. George is, and 
always must be, its enemy. 

Power with him means a chance for Lloyd 
George, and if the nation does not agree with 
Lloyd George so much the worse for the 
nation 1 

That is bad. But we submit that if the 
nation did agree with Lloyd George, it would 
be even worse than ever for the nation. 



WHEN in December 1900 Mr. George with 
befitting solemnity propounded to the House 
of Commons the principles by which public 
men should be guided in their private rela- 
tionships, he cannot have imagined that 
thirteen years later he himself would be 
judged by his own standards. He had de- 
nounced the war as being a capitalists' war, 
but the public did not believe it, so he changed 
his ground of attack. He fastened upon Mr. 
Joseph Chamberlain on platform after plat- 
form. He held him up to obloquy as being 
the villain of the play. But the public liked 
the villain, and was not at all out of favour 
with the play; and so, step by step, Mr. 
George was driven to the extraordinary posi- 
tion of having to condemn Mr. Chamberlain 
for having promoted the war in the financial 
interests of himself and of his family. 

This attack had a run on provincial plat- 
forms, and ultimately gained such prominence 

The Kynoch Debate 53 

that it was necessary to repudiate it altogether 
or to bring it to trial before the House of 
Commons. We can well believe that this 
latter step was reluctantly taken. 

On December 10, Mr. Lloyd George, who 
had been the inventor and the principal pub- 
lisher of these slanders against Mr. Chamber- 
lain, moved an amendment to the Address. 
But why Mr. Lloyd George ? He was only a 
freelance a private Member of Parliament. 
If there was any foundation at all for the 
charges, the burden of proving them should, 
of course, have been borne by the official 
Opposition in the House. The Times, in a 
leading article in its issue of December n, 
tersely stated the object of the onslaught in 
the following words : 

"The attack on Mr. Chamberlain, as Mr. 
Balfour manfully said, was not, as it professed 
to be, an attempt to assert the abstract prin- 
ciple of purity in politics. It was an endeavour 
to discredit the character of a statesman who 
has made himself obnoxious to the opposite 
party by giving them the soundest beating of 
which there is any record in recent political 

The text of Mr. George's amendment to the 
Address was as follows : 

" And we humbly beg to represent to your 
Majesty that Ministers of the Crown and 

54 The Real Lloyd George 

Members of either House of Parliament 
holding subordinate offices in any Public 
Department ought to have no interest, direct 
or indirect, in any firm or company com- 
peting for contracts with the Crown, unless 
the nature and extent of such interest being 
first declared, your Majesty shall sanction the 
countenance thereof, and when necessary 
shall have directed such precautions to be 
taken as may effectively prevent any suspicion 
of influence or favouritism in the allocation of 
such contracts." 

And on this amendment Mr. George made a 
a speech. Sheer necessity had compelled him 
to venture into some sort of a detailed attack 
on Mr. Chamberlain, and his alleged participa- 
tion in contracts in connection with the war. 
Mr. George, however, had not the pluck to 
detail in the House of Commons one-fiftieth 
part of the gross and scandalous insinuations 
which for some months before had had cur- 
rency on Radical platforms and a muffled echo 
in the Radical press. When he came to the 
charges, which in the end he had the hardihood 
to make, he was crushingly answered by Mr. 
Chamberlain himself. We shall give a full 
extract from Mr. Chamberlain's reply ; but 
what concerns us most at this moment, in view 
of the fact that Mr. George himself is in the 
Marconi pillory, is a restatement of the prin- 

The Kynoch Debate 55 

ciples which, according to Mr. George's own 
view, ought to be held sacred by public men. 

Here are the necessary passages from Mr. 
George's speech : 

11 He said that attention had frequently been 
called in the House within the last few years 
to Ministers engaging in operations which 
brought their private interests into conflict 
with their public position. He did not, how- 
ever, propose to refer to any of these cases 
except generally, in order to show the House 
that this motion was simply part and parcel 
of the policy of objecting to operations of the 
kind. It was his intention to confine himself 
simply to facts, most of them fresh, most of 
them discovered within the last few weeks, and 
none of which had been brought to the atten- 
tion of the House. He deemed it the duty of 
some member of the House to state these facts 
in the presence of the Ministers arraigned, in 
order to give them a full opportunity for 
explanations. There were two or three Mini- 
sters whose names had been associated with 
the companies concerning which there had 
been so much discussion of late. 

t( It was very difficult to lay down a rule for 
the conduct of public men in matters of this 
kind. The only Act of Parliament which dealt 
with this was passed in the reign of George 
III, when most of the industry and commerce 

56 The Real Lloyd George 

of the country were in the hands of private 
firms, and rules formed in those circumstances 
were neither adequate nor applicable to the 
circumstances of the present day, when most 
of the industries were carried on by joint-stock 

"With regard to the principle which ought 
to be laid down, he might appeal, with confi- 
dence, to the Rt. Hon. gentleman, the Colonial 
Secretary, and to the rules which he himself 
had laid down. No one, he would venture to 
say, was a better judge than the Rt. Hon. 
gentleman, and no one had been more ruthless 
than he in criticising transactions of the 
character of which he complained. 

" He believed the Rt. Hon. gentleman sig- 
nalised his entry into municipal life by a motion 
condemning a councillor who had been guilty 
of contracting with the corporation ; and in 
1885 the Rt. Hon. gentleman made a very 
severe attack on Lord Salisbury because the 
noble Lord and his agents and friends in the 
Upper House had insisted upon the insertion 
of a clause in an Act of Parliament, the effect 
of which would be to give an enormously 
enhanced value to Lord Salisbury's own 
property in London. 

"The present Colonial Secretary objected 
to the appointment by the Government of Sir 
Hercules Robinson as High Commissioner 

The Kynoch Debate 57 

because he had held some shares in Rhodesian 
companies. Sir Hercules Robinson had parted 
with the shares at the time of his appointment ; 
but the Rt. Hon. gentleman said that a person 
appointed to represent the Queen should not 
only be pure, but, like Caesar's wife, above 
suspicion. It was not merely enough in the 
opinion of the Rt. Hon. gentleman that an officer 
of the State should be incorruptible, but he must 
have no association with companies, either past or 
present association, which would make him open 
to suspicion. 

"The second regulation which the Rt. 
Hon. gentleman laid down was for the con- 
duct of his own officers in Ceylon. It 

" ' No officer shall be allowed to engage in 
commercial pursuits or purchase shares in any 
local land company ; nor shall any officer make 
or continue an investment which may interest him 
privately in any private or public undertaking 
with which his public duty is connected. All 
officers shall confidentially consult the Government 
as regards any investment which may be reason- 
ably open to doubt. The foregoing regulation 
applies to the holding of land by an officer in 
the name or names of members of an officer's 

" He was sorry to say that if his facts were 
accurate, the Rt. Hon. gentleman was the first to 

58 The Real Lloyd George 

break his own commandments. The Colonial 
Secretary had stated in the House that he 
had no interest, direct or indirect, in any 
company which supplied to the Government 
munitions or war material. The Rt. Hon. 
gentleman had since admitted that that state- 
ment was not strictly correct." 

Mr. Chamberlain : No." 

Mr. Lloyd George said : 

" He understood the Rt. Hon. gentleman to 
say in a letter to the Hon. Member for Bradford 
that with regard to 'Tubes' that was not 
strictly correct." 

Mr Chamberlain : " I do not admit it." 

Mr. Lloyd George remarked that he would 
refer to it later on. He then proceeded to give 
a list of the companies in which he maintained 
Mr. Joseph Chamberlain and Mr. Austen 
Chamberlain were interested. 

"The first company was Hoskins & Sons, 
Ltd. Mr. George contended that this company 
were Admiralty contractors ; that it was a 
private company 'owned by the Rt. Hon. 
gentleman's family, by persons who were 
related to the Colonial Secretary in such a way 
that he ventured to say the Rt. Hon. gentle- 
man's interest in the company was direct, 
or certainly indirect.' He contended that 
Mr. Austen Chamberlain had ^3000 in the 

The Kynoch Debate 59 

The next company he dealt with was the 
Birmingham Trust, in which the Colonial 
Secretary held 500 ordinary shares of ^10 
each, and also some preference shares. His 
family had also a large holding in the com- 
pany. Mr. Austen Chamberlain, with two 
others, was a holder of shares of 2500 
nominal capital. He inferred from that that 
he held the shares as a trustee, lt but the fact 
made no difference as far as the present point 
was concerned.'' 

This company, the Birmingham Trust, held 
a considerable number of shares in Tubes, 
Ltd., and another considerable number in 
Elliot's Metal Company. This interest in 
Tubes was about ^12,500, and he found that 
Mr. Arthur Chamberlain, who since 1899 had 
been Chairman of the Company, held about 

Mr. George then made allegations of a 
similar character against the Colonial Secre- 
tary in connection with the Colombo Com- 
mercial Company, and he summed up his 
indictment in the following striking words : 

" He did not say that the Rt. Hon. gentle- 
man knew all about this company in which 
he had invested his money or about this 
contract given to the company." (N.B. 
Mr. George admitted that Mr. Chamberlain 
had acquired his shares in the Colombo Com- 

60 The Real Lloyd George 

mercial Company " before he came into 

He went on to say, " he accepted implicitly 
the Rt. Hon. gentleman's statement that he 
was too much engaged in public affairs to be 
able to look after his own investments, or to 
make that inquiry about them which an ordi- 
nary, careful, business man would make. But 
he did assert that the fact illustrated the danger 
of investments of this character in the hands 
of Ministers of the Crown." 

He next turned to the Kynoch Company. 
" In this company the holding of the Colonial 
Secretary's relations was in present value be- 
tween .230,000 and .250,000. Mr. Austen 
Chamberlain was interested presumably as 
trustee to the extent of ^15,000. The com- 
pany manufactured cordite and munitions of 
war, and undoubted favouritism had been 
shown to it. ... The Rt. Hon. gentleman 
complained that corruption had been sug- 
gested. . . . He had made a simple statement 
of facts, and they read corruption into it. 

"... It was said they were attacking the Rt. 
Hon. gentleman's private character, but they 
were dealing with published facts. If they 
had intercepted his private correspondence, 
then he might have been justified in flinging 
at them some of those epithets which he was 
in the habit of throwing at his political oppo- 

The Kynoch Debate 61 

nents. He said, with regard to these matters, 
in the words of the Rt. Hon. gentleman : ' It 
is not treasonable, but it is improper.' 

"His next point was that although there 
was no charge or suggestion of corruption, 
still things had been done which would set 
a precedent which might legitimately be used 
later to justify corruption itself. They were 
bound to examine the facts, and judge upon 
them. These rules were laid down not alto- 
gether to prevent, to hit corruption, but to 
prevent circumstances that might justify cor- 
ruption in others. He knew nothing in which 
these rules ought to be enforced with greater 
rigidity than in war contracts. ... If Ministers 
of the Crown were allowed to have large in- 
terests, directly or indirectly, in firms pro- 
viding munitions of war, he knew of no 
greater danger to the peace of this country. 
It was not that any Minister they could 
imagine, sitting in the House, would ever 
deliberately, for the sake of promoting his 
own private interests, engage in any war. 
That was too horrible a suggestion even to 
think about, and he did not suggest it. But 
there was again the subtle influence of the 
constant action of the man's permanent in- 
terest on his judgment. It gave him a bias 
without his knowing it. 

" He did not say that the Secretary for the 

62 The Real Lloyd George 

Colonies or the Secretary to the Treasury had 
done anything to lower the standard of proud 
pre-eminence which they enjoyed as a country in 
this matter. What he did say was, that they had 
given legitimate grounds for uneasiness, and, 
above all, that they had established precedents 
which, if they were followed, would lead to 
something infinitely worse than anything he 
had enumerated that day." 

In other words, Mr. Lloyd George threw 
the utmost amount of mud that he could 
possibly collect, and then ran round the wall 
when he was threatened with a chase, and said : 

" I did not mean anything, and if you think 
I did, it was only for the public good." 

Surely Mr. Chamberlain was justified in 
opening his reply with the words : 

". . . This is not a fair fight, and I do 
think it hard that after twenty-five years of 
parliamentary service I should, in the full 
light of day, have to stand up here and ex- 
plain to my colleagues on both sides of the 
House that I am not a thief or a scoundrel. 
It is all very well to make unctuous repu- 
diations, such as the Hon. and learned 
gentleman has just done, of any intention to 
attack myself or my honour for it is a ques- 
tion affecting my personal honour. 

". . . Of course, the amendment is only a 
peg on which to hang this personal attack. 

The Kynoch Debate 63 

" . . . Now, I would first explain the facts 
of the case. What happened ? Two or three 
days before the election a certain attack was 
made upon me. It was continued through- 
out the election, and pressed even down to 
the present time. 

11 ... It took the form of a number of 
alleged facts as to certain companies with 
which my name was connected by the com- 
ments of the writers who dealt with the 
subjects. . . . The Hon. and learned gentle- 
man, who has just sat down, was care- 
ful to repeat again and again that he made 
no imputation upon my personal honour. 
That is what these papers said at intervals 
in the course of the conspiracy of slander to 
to which they lent themselves, and it is true 
that nobody has made an accusation. It has 
been a conspiracy of insinuation, which is 
infinitely worse. 

"Sir, I think that no one has the right to 
insinuate, as the Hon. and learned gentleman 
has just done, anything against the honour of 
a fellow member, or indeed against the honour 
of any man, unless he is prepared to support 
it by a direct accusation. 

"What is the result of the form in which 
these statements have appeared ? Why, I do 
not suppose there are many members of the 
House who took the trouble to read them, 

64 The Real Lloyd George 

but let those who have read any of them say 
whether the suggestion which they were in- 
tended to convey was not that I had made an 
improper and corrupt use of my political and 
official position in order to benefit either 
myself or some members of my family. 

"It is all very well for those who made 
these insinuations to deny the effect which 
they produced, but I could bring to the House, 
if I thought it desirable to mix myself up with 
all this mud, speech after speech made by 
Hon. Members of this House and by their 
supporters, in which I was directly charged, 
in consequence of these insinuations, with 
fattening upon the profits which I had made 
out of a war which I had provoked. 

"... The attempt in this charge is to make 
a public man responsible, not for his own acts, 
but for the acts of his relations. I am inter- 
ested as a shareholder in two of the com- 
panies which have been mentioned, and I will 
deal with them directly. My relations are 
interested, I have no doubt, although I know 
nothing about the alleged amount of their 
interest and details of that kind, in the other 
companies which have been mentioned. 

" . . . What is the motive for bringing in 
the investments of my relations, over which I 
have no control, and in which I really have 
no interest ? The motive is to bring me into 

The Kynoch Debate 65 

it, to make me responsible for a thing over 
which in no conceivable circumstances can I 
be responsible. 

"... I have not given out any contracts, 
certainly no contract connected with any one 
of the companies to which reference has been 

" . . . About the companies in which my 
relations are engaged I leave them to defend 
themselves in the law courts from the special 
slanders directed against their name, and I 
say, with regard to them, that I cannot pre- 
vent, whatever anyone else may do, my 
relations from investing in anything they 
please. They never consult me ; I cannot 
control them. I should not have the slight- 
est influence upon them if I interfered, and 
I cannot prevent them from taking Govern- 
ment contracts if they can get them in the 
ordinary course of their business. But this I 
can and do say, and I think it is all that the 
House in its fairness will ask of any Minister : 
that never during the whole course of my 
political career whether as a private member 
or as a Minister never have I been asked to 
interfere, nor have I interfered, never have I 
been asked to use my influence, nor have I 
ever used it, in order to secure any pecuniary 
gain for myself or for my relatives in any 
improper way whatever. 


66 The Real Lloyd George 

"Now, as to the two cases, for there are 
only two cases, in which I am admittedly 
interested. I am a shareholder in two com- 
panies, the Colombo Commercial Company 
and the Birmingham Trust Company. . . . 
Almost immediately after I entered Parlia- 
ment I gave up my directorships, and I have 
never accepted the many offers of director- 
ships which have been made to me since. 

". . . When I went into public life I gave 
up private business altogether; I withdrew 
my capital, such as it was. I had to invest it 
somewhere, but I have endeavoured in the 
whole course of my public life to be in the 
position in which Caesar's wife should have 
been, to give no cause even of suspicion to 
the most malicious of my opponents. I defy 
anyone to do more than I did to keep out of 
investments that were likely to bring me into 
relations to the Government or public works. 

" I will take one case. At one time I was a 
shareholder in the Small Arms Company and 
in another company Kynochs. ... I sold 
out of them at a loss. Not that I held there 
was any moral obligation on me to do so 
not at all. But because, knowing the kind of 
criticism to which I have been so frequently 
subjected during my public life, I thought it 
desirable in the work which I had to do, that 
I should not be hampered in the discharge of 

The Kynoch Debate 67 

that work by having to reply to charges such 
as these. 

"... Now, I come to another matter 
which has reference to another company 
the Colombo Commercial Company. ... I 
joined the company twenty-three years ago. 
... I know nothing whatever of any change 
in the business of the company nothing 

"... Sir, there is a company called the 
Birmingham Trust Company. It is one of 
the many companies of that description which 
exist in all our large towns. It is a local con- 
cern. The Chairman of the company is a 
highly respected Birmingham alderman. He 
has a reputation for shrewdness and business 
capacity in which great confidence is felt. To 
him was entrusted sums in the hope that he 
would in vest them for me, but it never entered 
into my head that that could bring me into 
any responsibility for the investments which 
that company might make without my know- 

". . . I knew absolutely nothing as to the 
nature of a single investment that this com- 
pany had made until I was told that they 
held some investments in ' Tubes/ . . . Since 
these imputations have been put about, I have 
made inquiries. I am. told that the Birming- 
ham Trust Company has ^400,000 invested, 

68 The Real Lloyd George 

and that the value of its investments a short 
time ago in Tubes was ^1500. 

". . . My share in the investment of the 
tubes is ;6o. 

"If the object of those who entered into 
this conspiracy was to give pain, I must admit 
that they have succeeded. . . . They have not 
injured me they have not injured my cause. 
. . . But they have introduced into our public 
life methods of controversy which are un- 
worthy, and have made it more difficult for 
honourable, sensitive men to serve the State." 

Mr. Haldane subsequently took part in this 
debate, and said : 

" I accept unreservedly I have never 
doubted it the assurance of the absolute 
purity of the motive which had actuated both 
the Rt. Hon. gentleman and the Financial 

Mr. McKenna followed and said : 

"Not a shadow of a suggestion of corrup- 
tion, however, was made against the Colonial 
Secretary or the Secretary of the Treasury." 

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman followed 
and said : 

" He must disown any intention whatever 
to bring those wild accusations against the 
Colonial Secretary, which he so naturally 

When the House divided, Mr. Lloyd George's 

The Kynoch Debate 69 

amendment was defeated by a majority of 142 ; 
in other words, more than two Members of 
Parliament voted against it for every one that 
voted for it. 

In view of what has happened in connection 
with American Marconis, an extract from the 
speech by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman is 
particularly interesting: 

"The object of the amendment, and what 
the object of all right-minded men who have 
the public interest in view, ought to be, could 
not be better expressed than it is by a passage 
in The Economist of Saturday last. It is there 

'"If a Minister happens to be connected, 
directly or indirectly, with any company whose 
dividends arise mainly or largely from Govern- 
ment contracts which he can in any way 
influence, the country expects him to sever 
his connection with such companies before 
taking office.' " 

"That is a very exact and correct statement," 
said Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. 

If we applied that standard to the conduct 
of those Ministers who interested themselves 
in American Marconis, it would be difficult to 
formulate a defence for them. 

Mr. R. W. Perks, M.P., now Sir Robert 
Perks, the great Nonconformist leader, 
summed up in a single sentence in his speech 

yo The Real Lloyd George 

at Louth on December 21, 1901, this onslaught 
on Mr. Chamberlain. He said: 

" A motion which, under the guise of assert- 
ing a principle, is really intended to injure a 
man's character and so defeat his political 
policy is, in my opinion, not an honest 
motion/ 1 



THE year 1902 brought with it Mr. Balfour's 
Education Act, and Mr. George rushed 
into the fray as the champion of outraged 
nonconformity. Into the controversy itselt 
we need not enter : we will not judge by what 
was said but by what has happened. The 
Bill which Mr. George denounced so furiously 
in the House and in the country has been an 
Act of Parliament these many years. Its 
success in working proves once again the 
unsoundness of his judgment. 

But we cannot leave the Education Act at 
that. " Passive Resistance " was preached, 
and every political nonconformist bought a 
cheap halo with the money with which he 
should have paid his rates. There was 
eighteen pennyworth of martyrdom for any- 
one who wanted it, and hymns of praise in 
the Bethels and advertisement in the Press. 
By Mr. George political nonconformity was 
swept into that frenzy in which it loves to 

72 The Real Lloyd George 

luxuriate. The ranters found a Paradise in 
which the latter-day saints vied with each 
other in the use of disgraceful language, and 
denounced the Conservatives with greater zeal 
than they assail the devil. 

It was a matter of conscience, they claimed, 
and Mr. George was the keeper of their con- 
science. For this Act they would not pay. 
They would go to prison. And so they might 
have done if each had not arranged with the 
other to pay the other's fine. 

What a campaign of cant and hypocrisy it 
all was to be sure. That Act is still in force. 
The Radicals have been in office sin^e 1906, 
and they have not touched a comma in it. 
Nonconformity still pays, and Mr. George 
with the rest of them. No voice is raised 
now. No one goes to prison in these days. 
What has become of all the " consciences " ? 
And what has become of all Mr. George's 
wild speeches and the votes which v\ere won 
by them ? Those " consciences " are in pawn 
to the Radical Party, and the votes have been 
misappropriated to other ventures. 

This Education campaign of Mr. George's 
was not merely a campaign against an Act 
which was a good Act, but the events which 
have followed it expose it as being disgustingly 

At the time, however, it served a purpose. 

Political Nonconformity 73 

And that was enough. After the war, Mr. 
George was in need of a body behind him. 
Political nonconformity gratefully clasped the 
enemy of the country to its bosom. When 
political nonconformity takes the platform Mr. 
George is sure of admirers. 

That campaign was nothing short of an 
imposture. If Mr. George had no other con- 
viction against him, it, in itself, was scandalous 
enough to debar him from any claim to con- 
fidence in the future. It was a worthy prelude 
to the Chinese slavery lie. 

The success of the Education Act was 
anticipated by qualified persons. Mr. Sidney 
Webb, who was then the Chairman of the 
Technical Education Board of the London 
County Council, wrote in the Daily Mail of 
October 17, 1902 : 

" Speaking solely from the standpoint of an 
educationalist, there can be no doubt at all 
that this Bill will effect the greatest advance 
in our public education that has been made 
since the 1870 Act." 

To-day we all know that this prediction has 
been fulfilled. Yet if Mr. George had had 
his way, bigotry would have been enthroned 
and efficiency sent to sacrifice. Since Mr. 
George has been in politics we have succeeded 
on his failures, and have always paid dearly 
for his successes. 

74 The Real Lloyd George 

On March n, 1904, the King's assent was 
given to the Labour Importation Ordinance 
for South Africa, and the foundation was laid 
for the Chinese slavery cry. The Radicals 
got to work quickly and held a Hyde Park 
demonstration in the same month. Dr. 
Clifford attended and gave the movement the 
blessing of political nonconformity. After 
that the lie's success was sure. 

There was a grave labour shortage in the 
Transvaal, the position of the country was 
critical, and the Ordinance had been passed 
to give the country a chance. White labour 
in the mines was impossible, but Radical 
speakers concealed that truth. Their main 
attack was that we were importing Chinamen 
to do work which our own people should be 
doing, and that in order to get Chinamen 
cheap we were making slaves of them. 

The following poster was issued in North 
Bristol during Mr. Birrell's election in 1906 : 

"Forty-eight thousand Chinese bondsmen 
have been found employment in South Africa 
by permission of the late Tory Government, 
while thousands of English cannot get work." 

The eagerness with which the cry was 
caught up is shown by a resolution passed 
by the Trade Union Congress which was held 
in Leeds, September 5-10, 1904 : 

''That this Congress enters its most em- 

Political Nonconformity 75 

phatic protest against the action of His 
Majesty's Government in sanctioning the 
South African Labour Ordinance, as it is 
opposed by His Majesty's subjects at home 
and abroad, sanctions conditions of labour 
unfit for human beings, and is contrary to the 
anti- slavery traditions of the British Empire!' 

Mr. George was, of course, foremost in pro- 
pagating the slavery lie. We give some ex- 
tracts from his speeches. 

In Maidenhead on May 26, 1905, he said : 

"... If you want your thirty millions from 
us you must give us cheap labour for the 
mines, and plenty of it. They said that they 
could not get plenty of Kaffir labour, and 
they persuaded the Government to consent 
to the importation of Chinese labour under 
conditions tantamount to slavery. . . . 

" If they commissioned him to bring 10,000 
Chinese coolies, plant them in the Welsh 
mines, put a compound round them ' Heaven 
forgive me for ever talking of desecrating my 
hills with slavery ! ' feed them on rice soup, 
the mines would pay 137 per cent. Merioneth- 
shire was in the British Empire, he believed, 
though he sometimes doubted it, when he saw 
the sort of things the Government did to it. 
So was Johannesburg ; the mere fact that it 
was thousands of miles away did not in the 
slightest degree weaken its claims of justice 

76 The Real Lloyd George 

and right. It was the British flag in Merioneth- 
shire and the same flag in Johannesburg, and 
if slavery was a stain in the former, why was 
it not in the latter ? If they wanted to have 
slavery let them try it here at our own doors, 
and we would rally to see that no such thing 
occurred. So much for Chinese labour . . ." 
{Maidenhead Advertiser, May 31, 1905). 

In Bangor on December 22, 1905, he 
said : 

"... Do you know what that job cost you 
here in Bangor ? ^80,000 to begin with. 
What you could have done with thai, if you 
had .80,000 towards your College ? What 
have you for your College when your .80,000 
has been spent on building compounds for 
slaves in South Africa ? " (Carnarvon and 
Denbigh Herald, December 29, 1905). 

In Nevin on January 15, 1906, Mr. George 
said : 

" . . . These people who were trying to use 
the unemployed statistics of this country in 
support of a new fiscal system were the very 
people who introduced 65,000 Chinamen on 
cheap terms to South Africa, which was as 
much an integral part of this Empire as 
Carnarvonshire, under conditions tantamount 
to slavery. What would they say to intro- 
ducing Chinamen at a shilling a day to Welsh 
quarries? The French slate would soon be 

Political Nonconformity 77 

swept out of the country . . ." {Carnarvon 
and Denbigh Herald, January 19, 1906). 

In Darlington on January 8, 1906, Mr. 
George said : 

" . . . What have they got ? Chinese labour, 
Chinese slavery . . ." (Stockton Herald, Janu- 
ary 13, 1906). 

In Leamington on January u, 1906, Mr. 
Lloyd George said : 

" . . . What is the condition of the Chinese 
labourer on the Rand ? There he is, immured 
in something they call a compound. He cannot 
choose his labour ; he cannot come and go 
freely ; he is practically a prisoner there during 
his whole year of service. I saw that a can- 
didate last night referred to them as appren- 
tices. Now what an absurd thing to call 
them so. A high order of service ! I should 
like to see an apprentice treated like that in 
this country : not allowed to go out into the 
streets at all, confined within certain limits, 
and very narrow limits ; and not only that, 
but if he refuses to do a job sent to gaol for 
two or three months. That is the condition 
of the Chinese coolie he is liable, if he re- 
fuses to do a job, to be sent to gaol for two 
or three months. It is perfectly obvious that 
apparent refusal to do a job may be simply 
attributable to the fact that the poor fellows 
do not know what is required of them. I 

78 The Real Lloyd George 

will tell you another fact with regard to them. 
Somebody sent me a report of some con- 
victions for refusing to work the actual 
documents signed by the court. How were 
they described ? They were all described by 
numbers. That is how they describe con- 
victs. Well, that is the condition of things 
on the Rand with these Chinese. They are 
practically slaves, and to say they are appren- 
tices is simply to degrade the name of ap- 
prentice. It has none of the features of 
apprenticeship, whereas it has every one of the 
essentials of slavery. Here you have the Union 
Jack -waving over the slave compounds in Africa, 
and it is your late member (Mr. A. Lyttleton) 
who did it" (Leamington Gazette, January 13, 

Again at Pwllheli on January 16, 1906 : 
". . . To-day the Union Jack of Johannes- 
burg fluttered in sight of slave compounds. 
. . . They (the Chinamen) were kept like dogs 
in a kennel ; they were treated as very few 
men treated their beasts . . ." (Times, Janu- 
ary 17, 1906). 

Now these speeches were wonderful vote- 
winners. They were backed up by huge car- 
toons on the hoardings, of Chinamen in chains, 
and by other pictures with the shades of our 
dead soldiers and the words, " Was this what 
we died for?" That slavery should be the 

Political Nonconformity 79 

payment of British blood was outrageous to 
the electors. They rose to the cry. They 
hounded down those who protested against 
its untruths, and once again there were cheers 
for Lloyd George. 

Ananias, had he known of it all, must have 
regretted that he had no chance of being a 
Radical leader. 

For the thing was, from first to last, a 
nauseating lie. It was so big and embarras- 
sing a lie, that as soon as they had won on it 
Radical Ministers tumbled over one another 
to repudiate it 

Before them, however, a voice, which should 
have claimed attention, had been raised in 
protest. It was howled down by the men 
who trusted Mr. George and had been in- 
flamed by his unscrupulous rhetoric. 

The Times gave publicity on January 3, 
1905, to a statement by Mr. William Evans, 
the Government adviser on Chinese Labour 
and late Chief of the Labour Department of 
Johannesburg. Mr. Evans had been Protector 
of Chinese in the Straits Settlements for many 
years. He was a Chinese scholar and spoke 
fluently in several dialects, and he was a 
distinguished public servant of the highest 
integrity. He wrote : 

"The treatment of the Chinese is excellent, 
and the conditions under which they work 

8o The Real Lloyd George 

should be seen to be believed. They live in 
big, airy, bright, well-ventilated rooms with all 
possible conveniences; big kitchens with steam 
cooking ; bath and wash-house open all day, 
with hot and cold water laid on ; lavatories 
built on most sanitary principles ; food first- 
rate in quality (white rice, fresh beef, vege- 
tables, potatoes, bread, tea) and ample in 
quantity, and electric light throughout. The 
rooms are built in the form of a quadrangle, 
as a rule with the kitchens, &c., in the middle ; 
but the men are at no time confined to the quad. 
They are free to wander about over the mine 
premises, and they only want a special permit 
to leave the premises." 

As soon as the elections were over, the lie 
was officially dropped. 

In the House of Commons on February 22, 
1906, Mr. Winston S. Churchill, Under- 
secretary for the Colonies, said : 

"... I took occasion during the elections 
to say, and I repeat it now, that the conditions 
of the Transvaal Ordinance under which Chinese 
labour is now being carried on do not, in my 
opinion, constitute a state of slavery. A labour 
contract into which men enter voluntarily 
for a limited and for a brief period, under 
which they are paid wages which they con- 
sider adequate, under which they are not 
bought or sold, and from which they can 

Political Nonconformity 81 

obtain relief on payment of 17, ios., the 
cost of their passage, might not be a desirable 
contract, might not be a healthy or proper 
contract, but /'/ cannot, in the opinion of His 
Majesty's Government, be classified as slavery in 
the extreme acceptance of the word without some 
risk of terminological inexactitude. If Chinese 
labour be not described as slavery, the Rt. 
Hon. gentleman should not readily assume 
that it is for that reason a proper contract." 
(Authorised Debates, col. 555.) 

In the House of Lords, on February 26, 
1906, the Earl of Elgin, Secretary for the 
Colonies, said : 

" . . . Lord Harris has challenged me with 
regard to the use of terms connected with slavery. 
/ can only follow my noble friends who spoke 
on this subject on the occasion of the Address 
and decline to take any responsibility for the use 
of that term. / have always declined, as far as 
1 could, to take any responsibility for the creation 
of these general terms. I never had much to 
do with election placards, but it always seemed 
to me that, in the endeavour to get a single word 
which was capable of being represented in large 
letters on a single sheet of paper, those ivho drew 
up those placards ran a risk of doing a grave 
injustice. It is not the first time on which 
these sort of terms have been used. ... As 
to pictorial representations, the art of political 


82 The Real Lloyd George 

caricature, in the hand of a master, fascinates 
the victim even while it attacks him. In the 
hands of another, it becomes a bludgeon which 
is as likely to injure friend as foe. / wish to 
express my deep regret I have no hesitation in 
using that word that this term has been used, 
for two particular reasons. In the first place, 
I regret exceedingly to find that men who 
have fought for us and suffered for us in the 
colony should think that their personal honour 
is impugned. / cannot believe any reasonable 
man, even in the heat of an election contest, ever 
meant anything of the kind. But if he did, 
it only shows how important it is in these 
matters to observe the rule that, while we may 
challenge any system, we are not entitled to 
condemn an individual except on clear and 
specific proof. In the second place, I especially 
regret this incident because it might possibly 
seem to raise a suspicion that there was a 
difference of opinion between the two sides 
of the House and the two parties of the 
country on the great question of slavery itself. 
I do not believe that for a moment. I believe 
that all parties adhere to the proud boast that 
slavery cannot exist under the British flag." 
(Authorised Debates, vol. clvi., col. 735.) 

So much for the Chinese slavery lie and 
the ignoble part which Mr. George took in its 

Political Nonconformity 83 

It is well to remember. Leaders are only 
fallible, like the rest of men, but those who 
would enjoy public confidence must, at heart, 
give proof of common honesty. 

And of all the wicked misstatements on 
which Mr. George filched the workers'* votes, 
he has withdrawn none. 

He has merely remained silent in the hope 
that the people will forget. 

But untruth in public men is a thing which 
should never be forgotten. 



IN December 1905, Mr. Lloyd George was 
appointed President of the Board of Trade, 
and he held that office until April 1908, when 
he went to the Exchequer. 

There had been nothing in Mr. George's 
career to suggest that he would be a sound 
administrator, and there has been nothing 
in his subsequent work to justify his appoint- 
ment. His methods have been the reverse 
of businesslike. His usual plan is to come 
to a decision first and find reasons for that 
decision afterwards. His administrative acts, 
like his rhetorical conclusions, are usually a 
bid to the gallery. 

It is unnecessary to review events during 
his tenure of office. It goes without saying 
that he has always thrust himself into the 
limelight. At the Board of Trade he secured 
almost daily advertisement from the recep- 
tion of deputations. If space permitted, his 
speeches to the various gentlemen who wnited 
on him would make interesting reading. 

Old Age Pensions 85 

They all went happy away ; but their hap- 
piness was, in the majority of cases ; short- 
lived, and they realised before long that 
flattering phrases was all that Mr. George 
had for them. 

In 1908 the Old Age Pensions Bill brought 
the Chancellor of the Exchequer well to the 
front of the stage. Radicals, nowadays, claim 
the .exclusive credit for this measure. As a 
matter of fact, the ground had been prepared, 
public opinion had been formed, and a mass 
of evidence had been collected by the Unionist 
Party ever since the year 1892. In 1894, 
indeed, an Old Age Provident Pensions Bill 
was defeated by the then Radical Government 
by 205 votes to 136. In 1896 the Conservative 
Government appointed a Select Committee 
which examined over 100 schemes and com- 
piled a volume of valuable information. In 
1898 a second Committee was appointed, 
which did important work. 

The Radical measure of 1908, imperfect 
as it was, would have been impossible had 
it not been for the patient inquiry and 
preparation of their predecessors. Indeed, 
speaking in the House of Commons on June 
15, 1908, Mr. George paid the following 
tribute : 

" . . . The statesman who, on the whole, 
has done more to popularise the question of 

86 The Real Lloyd George 

Old Age Pensions in this country than any- 
one else, I mean the Rt. Hon. gentleman, 
the Member for West Birmingham, Mr. 
Joseph Chamberlain." (Authorised Debates, 
col. 566.) 

Lord Wolverhampton, who was the Radical 
President of the Privy Council, paid a similar 
tribute in a speech which he made on July 
20, 1908, in the House of Lords. He said : 

" Of all the living statesmen who had taken 
a great interest in Old Age Pensions, Mr. 
Chamberlain stood out most distinctly as the 
person who had popularised the question." 
(The Times, July 21, 1908.) 

The Radical Daily Chronicle went further 
than this. In its issue of June 17, 1908, there 
appeared the following : 

"Let us be just and admit that the popu- 
larising of the idea of Old Age Pensions and 
the forcing of it into the sphere of practical 
politics have been in large measure due to 
Mr. Chamberlain." 

The scheme itself which Mr. George intro- 
duced was a characteristic example of crude 
and hurried legislation. The Star, in its 
issue of June 12, 1908, admitted this. The 
Star said : 

" It is necessary to point out that the whole 
thing is a bold experiment, a leap in the 
dark, the cost of which is largely guesswork." 

Old Age Pensions 87 

Mr. Asquith, too, in the speech which he 
delivered in Birmingham on June 19, 1908, 
admitted that : 

" You can get a thousand cases of hardship 
out of it [the Old Age Pensions Scheme], 
There is the limit of age. It is hard that a 
man of sixty-nine should not get a pension, 
while the man of seventy does. There is the 
limitation of income. It is very hard that 
the man who has got us. a week should not 
get a pension, whereas the man who has got 
ioj. a week does. . . . Cases of hardship could 
be multiplied indefinitely." 

This was Mr. George's first adventure as a 
social legislator. As he has always done 
subsequently, he produced his s.cheme first 
and set out to get information about it after- 
wards. Punch, in its issue of August 26, 1908, 
happily hit off the situation : 

" Mr. Lloyd George's object in visiting 
Berlin, it is officially declared, is to obtain 
information about Old Age Pensions. Now 
that his recommendation to grant the pensions 
has been adopted, he naturally feels that he 
ought seriously to study the subject." 

The Unionist Party in the House tried 
hard to improve the pension scheme, but 
they were out-voted. Their amendment to 
prevent out-door relief from disqualifying 
old people for pensions was defeated by 

88 The Real Lloyd George 

249 votes to 144. As the result, more than 
200,000 aged poor were debarred from pen- 
sions. ^Mr. George was profoundly unsym- 
pathetic to this amendment. Speaking in 
the House of Commons on June 29, 1908, 
he said :' 

" He was not quite sure that even if the 
financial arrangement admitted of the amend- 
ment being adopted, the addition of 203,000 
out-door paupers . to the pension list was 
yet a proper mode of proceeding. It was 
part of the Poor Law system, and should 
be dealt with in the form of that system." 
(The Times, June 30, 1908.) 

Many other amendments were moved by 
the Unionist Party to improve the Pensions 
Bill, but they were rejected by the Radical vote. 

Whenever Mr. George produces a social 
reform measure, one is left in doubt as to 
whether his chief aim is not to get votes 
rather than to achieve good. Certainly the 
base uses to which the Pensions Act was 
put by the Radical Party gave cause for 
apprehension on this point. Appeals were 
issued to those who were qualified to receive 
pensions to register their names at Radical 
Party offices in the country. Even after these 
tactics had been trenchantly exposed in the 
House, the methods were only reluctantly 

Old Age Pensions 89 

The next move was to circulate the election 
lie that if the Unionist Party were returned to 
power they would discontinue Old Age Pen- 
sions. The Lord Advocate of Scotland, Mr. 
Ure, was prominent in giving wide currency 
to this fabrication, and Mr. Balfour took him 
to task in the House of Commons. THe fol- 
lowing sentence from Mr. Balfour's speech 
on September 29, 1909, should dispose of that 
matter once and for all : , 

" The national obligation to pay the Old 
Age Pensions under the Act of 1908 is one 
which no party or no Government would 
violate if they could or could if they would." 

And on October 3, 1909, the Prime Minister, 
Mr. Asquith, cold-shouldered Mr. Ure and 
those who had been helping him to spread 
the lie by announcing : 

" 1 do not share the apprehensions if they 
are entertained anywhere of the willingness 
or even of the personal ability of the Tory 
Party opposite to take away these pensions. 
... I think the Old Age Pensioner may sleep 
peacefully in his bed." 

Enormous play was made on the Old Age 
Pensions in the elections of 1910 and 1911. 
The whole of the credit was claimed by the 
Radical Party, and the attitude of the Unionist 
Party was scandalously misrepresented. There 
is no doubt that the pensions, to a large ex- 

90 The Real Lloyd George 

tent, enabled the Radicals to win those two 
elections. Are they going to attempt to win 
the next on the same cry ? Surely if anyone 
pays twice for goods delivered, they have 
paid enough some would say once too often. 
The electors have twice voted for the Radicals 
because of the pensions, and the account 
should be considered settled. 


MR. LLOYD GEORGE introduced his now 
notorious budget on April 29, 1909. It is 
important to remember that at that time 
Radicalism was out of favour with the country. 
Bye-elections had been going against the 
Government. There was a vast amount of 
unemployment and grave and general dis- 
content. On the other hand, Conservatism 
was gaining rapid ground, and there can be 
little doubt that Radical electioneerers were 
apprehensive over the progress of the move- 
ment in favour of tariffs. One would hesitate 
to say that the budget of 1909 was purposely 
formulated to side-track the tariff movement, 
but there can be little question that that result 
was one of the ends which the Government 
had in view. 

At the same time the Government was beat- 
ing up for a final onslaught on the House of 
Lords, and though they probably did not 
anticipate the action which the Upper House 
ultimately took with regard to the budget, 


92 The Real Lloyd George 

they must have been aware that an onslaught 
upon lords and landlords would be a useful 
preliminary to the great political encounter. 
It is customary to condemn Mr. George for 
his budget speeches. That seems to be unfair. 
Anyone who knew the man must have known 
that they were the only kind of speeches he 
would make. No one can have known this 
better than his colleagues in the Cabinet. He 
was the last man alive who should have been 
entrusted with this work had there been any 
desire whatever to have acted fairly, judi- 
ciously, and decently. 

The following extract from a speech which 
Mr. George delivered at Swansea on October 
i, 1908, even if it stood alone, which it did 
not, should have warned the Prime Minister 
that MtT. George was not the man who should 
have been entrusted with the financial adjust- 
ment of the taxes over the various sections 
of the community : 

" I have had some excruciating letters piled 
upon me, more especially during the last year 
or two, from people whose cases I have in- 
vestigated honest workmen thrown out of 
work, tramping the streets and from town to 
town, from one workshop to another, begging 
for work as they would for charity, and at the 
end of the day trudging home tired, dis- 
heartened, and empty-handed, to be greeted 

'The People's Budget" 93 

by the faces of their little ones, haggard and 
pinched with starvation and anxiety. The 
day will come, and that day is not distant, 
when this country will shudder at its tolera- 
tion of that state of things when it was rolling 
in wealth. I say again that, apart from its 
inhumanity and its essential injustice, it is 
robbery; it is confiscation of what is the work- 
man's share of the riches of the land. . . . 

" You might imagine, from the vain, furious 
talk which is being indulged in, more especi- 
ally by peers and their apologists, that these 
rich mineral deposits were brought here at 
the time of the Norman Conquest by the 
ancestors of some of our great landlords, that 
they were placed in these convenient spots 
near the coast by those dukes and earls and 
barons after they had stolen the commons 
from the people. ... No one can really 
honestly defend the present system. All classes 
are not taking their fair share of the burden of 
trade depression. I can name twelve men, 
and so can you for it is no Exchequer secret 
whose aggregate income during the worst 
days of depression would suffice to maintain in 
comfort during the whole of one month at least 
50,000 workmen and their families ; and yet 
you probably find these twelve men on a Tariff 
Reform platform proclaiming that the distress 
incidental to unemployment is entirely attri- 

94 The Real Lloyd George 

butable to the fact that the bread of the work- 
man is still untaxed. Think of it ! Think of 
it! 250,000 men and women and children 
could live on the income that these twelve 
men would receive during the worst period 
of trade depression, and receive without 
ever earning it. I am not one of those 
who advocate confiscation, and, at any rate, 
as far as I am concerned, honest capital 
put in honest industries for the develop- 
ment of the industry, the trade, and the 
commerce of this country, will have nothing 
to fear from any proposal I shall ever be 
responsible for submitting to the Parliament 
of this realm. But I do, without fear of mis- 
representation, say that the first charge, say, 
on the great natural resources of this country, 
ought to be the maintenance above want of 
all those who are giving their labour and 
brain and muscle to its cultivation and develop- 
ment. . . ." (Daily News, October 2, 1908.) 

Then again there was the striking announce- 
ment made by Mr. George in the House of 
Commons on June 29, 1908 : 

" I have no nest-eggs at all. I have got to 
rob somebody's hen-roosts next year. I am 
on the look-out which will be the easiest to 
get and where I shall be least punished, and 
where I shall get the most eggs; and not 
only that, but where they can be most easily 

"The Peoples Budget" 95 

spared, which is one important qualifica-j 
tion." (Official Debates, Times report, Junef 
30, 1908.) 

We admit that the Exchequer was in need 
of money. We admit that, to a party limited^ 
by free imports, severe budget exactions were 
the only available method of relief. Yet, at 
the same time, unless the imposition was to 
be vindictive and malignant, it should have 
been made by some other person almost 
any other person than Mr. George. 

His budget campaign was characterised by 
unfailing bad taste and even worse economics. 
As we might expect of him, he posed as the 
saviour of the human race, and his proposals 
were accompanied with rhetorical promises 
of an earthly paradise. The concluding words 
of the speech in which he introduced the 
budget on April 29, 1909, were merely a mild 
foretaste of what was to follow in later efforts. 
He said : 

" Mr. Emmott, this is a war budget. It 
is a budget for waging implacable warfare 
against poverty, and I cannot help hoping 
and believing that before this generation has 
passed away we shall have made a great 
advance towards the good time when poverty, 
with the wretchedness and squalor and human 
degradation which always follow in its camp, 
will be as remote from the people of this 

96 The Real Lloyd George 

country as the wolves which once infested its 

If the budget was a campaign against 
poverty, the enemy has triumphed in every 
engagement. The budget has bred poverty 
and in no way has healed it. Another of the 
dazzling promises to the poor by which sup- 
port was won for the budget, was made in 
the Limehouse speech on July 30, 1909. Mr. 
George then said : 

"The budget, as your chairman has already 
so well reminded you, is introduced not 
merely for the purpose of raising barren taxes, 
but taxes that are fertile taxes, taxes that will 
bring forth fruit the security of the country, 
which is paramount in the minds of all the 
provision for the aged and deserving poor it 
was time it was done. It is rather a shame 
for a rich country like ours, probably the 
richest country in the world, if not the richest 
the world has ever seen, that it should allow 
those who have toiled all their days to end in 
penury and possibly starvation. It is rather 
hard that an old workman should have to 
find his way to the gates of the tomb, bleed- 
ing and foot-sore through the brambles and 
thorns of poverty. We cut a new path through 
it. An easier one, and pleasanter one through 
fields of waving corn." 

That was in 1909 ; we now live in 1913. 

"The Peoples Budget" 97 

The budget has been tried and proved. It 
was passed on the pledge made to poor men 
of a relief from poverty, and the only result it , 
has given has been to increase the number of 
those who suffer. 

It will be remembered that the fight on the 
budget largely ranged over the land clauses. 
Mr. George lost no opportunity of inflaming 
the cupidity of the landless men and of mar- 
shalling them against the landlords. Accord- 
ing to a parliamentary paper, No. 147, of 
1909, the official estimate by the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer of the land value duties 
promised a return of 500,000 for the year 
1909-10. There was no estimate for the 
following year, but there was a footnote 
which announced : 

"There will be a progressive increase in 
the yield of these duties in 1910-11 and future 
years, but definite figures cannot be given 
until some progress has been made with the 
work of valuation." 

In all the history of budgets no more 
pitiable fiasco can be found than Mr. George's 
estimate of these duties. 

In a letter to The Times on February 7, 1912, 
Mr. Pretyman, M.P., called attention to the 
fact that in eighteen months the land taxes 
had only produced 20,000, and that they had 
actually cost the country considerably over 


98 The Real Lloyd George 

half a million. The public had been gulled 
into giving their votes to the budget on the 
assurance that this taxation would produce 
500,000 in the first year and larger sums in 
every successive year. As a matter of fact, 
the taxation, so far from producing anything 
at all, has cost the country 480,000. In his 
budget speech on April 2, 1912, Mr. George 
took up an amazing position*. He defended 
the Undeveloped Land Duty and the Incre- 
ment Duty, and he asserted : 

"That he had made it clear from the first 
that the productivity of the latter would not 
be apparent in the first years." 

Where had he made it clear ? What speech 
had he delivered during his budget campaign 
in which he gave a warning that there would 
be no productivity in early years ? On the 
contrary, he actually laid stress on the financial 
results that would immediately accrue. 

In the House of Commons, on April 29, 1912, 
Mr. Lloyd George announced : 

"The net receipts of Increment Value Duty 
and Undeveloped Land Duty to March 31, 
1912, was 6251 and 31,293 respectively." 

The question, of course, very seriously 
presents itself as to how far so small an 
amount repays collection, and whether it is 
not eaten up again and again by the salaries 
of officials engaged. 

"The People's Budget " 99 

The failure of the land taxes has not been 
sufficiently realised. The public loved them. 
They were told that the wicked landlord was 
going to be taxed, and that the money from 
the taxes would be used to make life happier 
for the people. They actually believed that 
although the land was to be taxed, more land 
would come into the market for building, that 
there would be a glut of new houses, and that 
rents would fall. The truth is very different. 
The land taxes imposed by the Radical 
budget of 1909 have not forced building land 
into the market, and have not caused an in- 
creased supply of houses. 

The Board of Trade Labour Gazette issues 
quarterly statements of the value of buildings 
for which plans have been passed by the 
principal urban districts. These returns 
afford the best indication of the progress of 
building in and around towns. These returns 
expose the complete failure of the land taxes. 
Instead of increased building, there has been 
a steady decline. In the period, March to 
September 1909 six months plans for dwell- 
ing-houses were passed of the value of over 
.220 per thousand of the population. In the 
first six months of 1912, the value of plans 
passed was only about 114. per thousand of 
the population a fall of no less than 48 per 
cent Taking all classes of buildings, houses, 

ioo The Real Lloyd George 

shops, factories, churches, chapels, schools, &c., 
there has been a decline of 24 per cent, in the 
same period. 

Even Mr. Josiah Wedgewood, the Radical 
Member of Parliament, who has made so 
strenuous a fight for Mr. George in the past, 
has stated of the Increment Duty on land that : 

"It may well be buried without any regret 
on the part of even moderate land-taxers. 
Looked at from the mere Treasury point of 
view, there is no money in it. Something of 
the same sort may be said of the other Land 
Value Duties as imposed in 1909. They were 
only a make-shift at first they are only a 
nuisance now." (Page 392, Economical 'Journal, 
September 1912.) 

Yes, but they were a make-shift to catch 
votes, and to whom are they a nuisance ? 
They may be a nuisance to those who have 
to find the money and who are being harried 
by Mr. George's horde of well-paid officials, 
but they are something worse than a nuisance 
to the great army of men who depend for 
their very livelihood on the building trade. 
The bricklayers, builders, masons, carpenters, 
and joiners these are the men who have to 
pay, in the form of unemployment or short- 
time and haphazard wages, and pay dearly, 
for Mr. Lloyd George's great political adven- 

"The People's- 'Budget" 101. 

Of course, if we are content to have as our 
Chancellor of the Exchequer a man who has { 
less knowledge of economics than a school ' 
child, we must be prepared for disaster. Mr. 
George never really argued the case for his 
new land taxes : he merely indulged in wild 
invective against landlords and in rhetorical 
promises of a very good time coming for the 

He made a speech at Cardiff (December 
1911) and said this : 

"The great lesson of Christianity is this. 
You cannot redeem those who are below 
except by the sacrifice of those who are 
above. . . .One-fourth of the population of 
this country are living under conditions of 
poverty. Is it because the country could not 
maintain them or because the land is poor ? 
The national income is eighteen hundred 
millions ^200 a year for every family." 

Put into plain English, that statement comes 
to this : 

"You are very poor people. If the idle 
rich did not get what you should have, there 
is enough money for all families to have ^200 
a year." 

The effect of such a deliverance on the 
crowd can well be imagined. 

The actual statistical truth is very different. 
Sir Robert Giffen, who was perhaps the 

102 The Real Lloyd George 

greatest statistician our country has ever 
known, estimated that if the income from 
capital were divided amongst the population 
it would work out at .39, 75. $d. per head in 
England and at .14, 6s. od. in Ireland. But 
Sir Robert Giffen would have been the last to 
suggest that if the present system of pro- 
duction and distribution were abandoned, and 
if individual incentive were removed, there 
would be anything like that amount of capital 
available for distribution. In this 200 a 
year declaration, Mr. George identifies him- 
self with the position taken up by the scatter- 
brained socialist stump-orators of the past. 
If he had even thought for a moment, he 
must have realised how wrong his facts were, 
and he must also have been convinced that a 
statement of that kind should never fall from 
the lips of a man in a responsible position. 

In our social life there should always be 
periodical readjustments ; new forces come 
into being, and new conditions have to be 
met. The presence of enormous wealth, side 
by side with heart-rending poverty, presents 
not one problem, but a series of problems to 
thinkers. But Mr. George has never faced 
any of them seriously or honestly. He has 
merely sought on every occasion to make 
platform capital out of the facts the facts 
which he distorts for his own purposes and 

' 'The People's Budget" 103 

he has actually exploited suffering and need in 
order to win votes. He has never even out- 
lined any proposal which would not actually 
accentuate the evils which he professes to be 
anxious to redress. All his schemes under- 
mine capital and are injurious to production 
and the producer. They are the schemes of 
a man who has not thought and does not 
think. They are the schemes of one who is 
without knowledge and wholly without judg- 
ment, and their effect has, up to the present, 
been so deplorable that the continuance of 
Mr. George in a position of responsibility is 
nothing short of a standing menace to the 

The foundations of national progress are 
set in goodwill and are framed on com- 
promise. Social readjustment, under which 
one section of the community must concede 
increased advantages to other sections, can 
only be brought about in a spirit of justice. 
The other way is that of revolution. But 
revolutions have a knack of producing, ulti- 
mately, less favourable conditions than existed 
before. Mr. Lloyd George was the revolution 
man. His methods were those of the revolu- 
tionary. His budget speeches in the country 
were deliberately framed to embitter the 
people and bring about a class war. We 
shall give extracts from them. They are 

IO4 The Real Lloyd George 

speeches which should not be forgotten. 
They reek of vindictiveness and malevolence, 
and are built up on promises which have 
subsequently been broken. It is well that 
the people should have these speeches before 
them. They are the masterpieces of the strife- 
maker, but even more than that, they are the 
rhetorical records of complete failure. Their 
pledges have been unfulfilled. The scheme 
of the budget itself has been in many respects 
a fiasco, and in others an engine of misery 
for masses of the people. Those are results 
which can be traced and proved, but their 
other effect, the evil that has accrued from 
the bitterness which Mr. George fomented 
between class and class, the result of that is 
hidden away in the hearts of the people. It 
may even yet have its harvest of disaster. We 
shall see. 

Mr. George's attitude towards the men of 
sound judgment who by their finance have 
done so much to build up the country, is 
illustrated by the speech which he made at 
the Holborn Restaurant on June 24, 1909. 
He said : 

" Now really I should like to know is Lord 
Rothschild the dictator of this country ? Are 
we really to have all the ways of reform, 
financial and social, blocked simply by a 
notice board, 'No Thoroughfare, by order of 

"The People's Budget" 105 

Nathaniel Rothschild ' ? There are countries 
where they have made it perfectly clear that 
they are not going to have their policy dictated 
merely by great financiers, and if this sort of 
thing goes on this country will join the rest 
of them." 

This is a typical illustration of Mr. George's 
tactics. He attacks a single man, whom he 
holds up to represent all other men, and he 
imagines that by drenching that single man 
with ridicule he has disposed of that man and 
all the others whom that man stands for. 
Even more than that, he believes that he has 
satisfactorily dealt with the arguments which 
those men advance. As a matter of fact, with 
regard to the budget, and most other matters 
as well, events have proved the soundness of 
Lord Rothschild's judgment, and Mr. George 
himself must know that Lord Rothschild, in 
his political and social views, is advanced. 
Few men have so broad and generous an 
outlook upon life as Lord Rothschild has, 
and few men would go so far as he goes in 
the matter of readjustment of social and 
economical relations. This is a widely-known 
fact, and Mr. George must know it. The 
knowledge of it, however, did not for an 
instant debar him from holding up Lord 
Rothschild's name to the contempt of the 
crowd, who were less well informed. 

i <z>6 The Real Lloyd George 

The notorious Limehouse speech was de- 
livered on July 30, 1909. The question of 
building more Dreadnoughts was a prominent 
one at the time, and Mr. George made charac- 
teristic play of it. He began : 

"A few months ago a meeting was held not 
far from this hall, in the heart of the City of 
London, demanding that the Government 
should launch out and run into enormous 
expenditure on the navy. That meeting ended 
up with a resolution promising that those who 
passed that resolution would give financial 
support to the Government in their under- 
taking. There have been two or three meet- 
ings held in the City of London since, attended 
by the same class of people, but not ending 
up with a resolution promising to pay. On 
the contrary, we are spending the money that 
they won't pay. What has happened since to 
alter their tone ? Simply that we have sent 
in the bill. We started our four Dreadnoughts. 
They cost eight millions of money. We pro- 
mised them four more ; they cost another 
eight millions. Somebody has got to pay, 
and these gentlemen say: 'Perfectly true, 
somebody has got to pay, but we would 
rather that somebody were somebody else.' 
We started building. W T e wanted money to 
pay for the building, so we sent the hat 
round. We sent it round amongst the work- 

'The People's Budget" 107 

men and the miners of Derbyshire and York- 
shire, the weavers of High Peak, and the 
Scotchmen of Dumfries, who, like all their 
countrymen, know the value of money. They 
all brought in their coppers. We went round 
Belgravia, but there has been such a howl 
ever since that it has completely deafened us." 

This, be it remembered, was a speech de- 
livered in Limehouse to poor men. If ever 
there was a case of class being wickedly set 
against class, here it is to be found. That 
Mr. George's complaint was utterly ground- 
less and untrue did not for a moment matter. 
Speaking to some of the poorest of our people, 
he went out of his way to vilify those who 
had means. It was a move in the class war. 
There is a sentence in the next passage of 
the Limehouse speech which, if there is any 
justice in politics, or any nemesis for false 
leaders, should bring Mr. George to the politi- 
cal gallows. We quote it : 

" Deception is always a pretty contemptible^ 
vice, but to deceive the poor is the meanest/ 
of all crimes." 

Mr. George's political career has been one 
long, unbroken, flagrant deception of the 
poor. He deceived them in his first election 
address twenty-three years ago, for none of 
the pledges which it contains have as yet 
been fulfilled. He deceived them again in 

io8 The Real Lloyd George 

his campaign against the Agricultural Rates 
Relief Act, and also in the case of Mr. Bal- 
four's Education Act, both of which were 
measures which were passed when he was 
in opposition, and which have been continued 
in force when he and his Government have 
been in pow r er. He deceived them again in 
the matter of the budget by promising them 
an earthly paradise, and giving them in ex- 
change greater misery than was their portion 
before ; and particularly by promising them 
relief from local rates, and by misappropriat- 
ing the fund thus definitely ear-marked, for 
the relief of Exchequer embarrassments. He 
deceived them scandalously by his wild pledges 
of what the land taxation would produce, and 
has only given them in return what is in some 
districts something like a house famine, and 
in no districts lower rates. He deceived them 
again, every section of them, a thousand times 
over, in the matter of the Insurance Act, and 
there he made them, whether they liked it or 
not, directly pay for their own deception. 
One clings to the hope that in politics one 
may be charitable, but if at this moment 
Mr. George's political epitaph had to be 
written, truth would engrave upon his tomb- 
stone the words, " He deceived the poor." 

Now we give a typical illustration of Mr. 
Lloyd George's attack upon landlords : 

'The People's Budget" 109 

"Who is the landlord? The landlord is 
a gentleman I have not a word to say about 
him in his personal capacity who does not 
earn his wealth. He does not even take the 
trouble to receive his wealth. He has a host 
of agents and clerks that receive for him. He 
does not even take the trouble to spend his 
wealth. He has a host of people around him 
to do the actual spending for him. He never 
sees it till he comes to enjoy it. His sole 
function, his chief pride, is stately consump- 
tion of wealth produced by others. What 
about the doctor's income ? How does the 
doctor earn his income ? The doctor is a 
man who visits our homes when they are 
darkened with the shadow of death. His 
skill, his trained courage, his genius, bring 
hope out of the grip of despair, win life out 
of the fangs of the Great Destroyer ; all bless- 
ings upon him and his divine art of healing 
that mends bruised bodies and anxious hearts. 
To compare the reward which he gets for 
that labour with the wealth which pours into 
the pocket of the landlord, purely owing to 
the possession of his monopoly, is a piece 
of insolence which no intelligent community 
will tolerate." 

This was in 1909. Within three years' time 
Mr. George had changed his attitude towards 
the doctors. He had no more blessings for 

no The Real Lloyd George 

them. They were no longer the divine 
healers, but they were a horrible nuisance. 
They wanted fair play under the Insurance 
Act, and he wanted the Insurance Act, and 
did not care a rap about fair play. In 1913, 
too, he had altered his attitude with regard 
to the landlords. Speaking on January 4, 
1910, at the St. Pancras Baths, he had said 
of the landlords : 

"We will give the great landlords a turn 
on the wheel, and put them on the treadmill 
for a short time, and see how they like it." 

But by 1913 he had modified his view, and, 
speaking in the House of Commons on March 
8, he confessed : 

" I do not think it is a question of attacking 
any class or of criticising any class." 

The truth is that the country had found Mr. 
George out, and the landlords, whom he had 
attacked in the budget days, had vilified and 
falsely accused, were not without their de- 
fenders. What easier than to attempt to dis- 
arm an opponent by announcing that there is 
no quarrel ? Surely that is quite as easy to 
accomplish as it was to denounce in 1913 the 
doctors whom in 1910 he had applauded. 

We give another scandalous passage from 
the Lhnehouse speech. Mr. George was still 
attacking the great landlords, and he was 
speaking about colliers. He imagines that he 

"The People's Budget" in 

is in the presence of some of the capitalists 
who receive coal royalties, and this is the 
conversation which finds a place in the 
speech : 

" ' Here, you know these poor fellows who 
have been digging up royalties at the risks of 
their lives. Some of them are old. They 
have survived the perils of their trade. They 
are broken. They can earn no more. Won't 
you give something towards keeping them out 
of the workhouse ? ' They scowl at you and 
we say, 'Only a halfpenny, just a copper.' 
They say, ' You thieves.' And they turn their 
dogs on to us, aud every day you can hear 
them bark. 

" If this is an indication of the view taken 
by these great landlords of their responsibility 
to the people who, at the risk of life, create 
their wealth, then I say their day of reckoning 
is at hand." 

The suggestion in that passage was that the 
tax on royalties was to be distributed by the 
Government amongst the men who got the 
coal. There is not a collier in the kingdom 
who has had a single farthing out of the 
royalties under the budget, or is ever likely 
to get one. No one knew this better than 
Mr. George no one knows this better than 
the colliers. But Limehouse did not know it. 
And Limehouse cheered, and Mr. George had 

ii2 The Real Lloyd George 

a delightful evening. But is that statesman- 
ship ? Is it even common honesty ? 

His concluding passage can give him no 
pleasure nowadays if he rereads it. We will 
give him the opportunity : 

" We are placing the burdens on the broad 
shoulders. Why should I put burdens on the 
people ? I am one of the children of the 
people. I was brought up amongst them. 1 
know their trials, and God forbid that I should 
add one grain of trouble to the anxiety which 
they bear with such patience and fortitude. . . . 
I made up my mind in framing the budget 
which was in front of me that, at any rate, no 
cupboard should be bared, no lot would be 
harder to bear. By that test, I challenge them 
to judge the budget." 

Mr. George's intentions may have been 
admirable, but they have failed. The taxation 
under the budget has, as all the economists 
predicted would be the case, fallen ultimately 
upon the people. Its effect on employment 
has, in many trades, been grave, but in nothing 
except in the provision of officialdom has it 
been helpful. By the budget many a cup- 
board has been bared, and many a lot has 
been made harder to bear. The budget itself 
is an economic outrage which could only have 
been accepted by the people if advocated, as 
it was, by a first-class political cheap-jack. 

'The Peoples Budget" 113 

That Mr. George should ever have been 
Chancellor of the Exchequer of the British 
Empire is a sorry jest. We perhaps should 
congratulate ourselves that the budget of a 
man with an inadequate equipment has not 
proved to be more disastrous than has been 
the case. But nothing in all the world will 
condone the class antagonism which he did 
his utmost to engender. 

Mr. George spoke at Carnarvon on Decem- 
ber 9, 1909, and embraced the opportunity 
of having a further attack on the landlords. 
He was talking of the new land taxes and the 
landlords, and this is what he said : 

"We say the country has need of money, 
and we are looking out for somebody to tax. 
We do not want to tax food ; we will tax no 
man's raiment ; we will not tax the house that 
shelters him and his family. What shall we 
tax ? We do not want to tax industry ; we 
do not want to tax enterprise ; we do not 
want to tax commerce. What shall we tax ? 
We will tax the man who is getting something 
that he never earned, that he never produced, 
and that by no law of justice and fairness 
ought ever to belong to him." 

No avowed Socialist could have stated the 
point more strongly, and Mr. George himself 
seemed to be content with it, because he 
devoted the greater part of the conclusion of 

114 The Real Lloyd George 

his oration to wild promises of the results of 
the budget. Here is one of them : 

" We are raising money by means that make 
it no more difficult for men to live. We are 
raising it for making provision for hundreds 
of thousands of workmen in the country who 
have nothing between them and starvation in 
old age except the charity of the parish. We 
propose a great scheme in order to set up a 
fund in this country that will see that no man 
suffers hunger in the dark days of sickness, 
breakdown in health, and unemployment 
which visit so many of us." 

This was the sort of rhetoric which Mr. 
George used up and down the country to win 
support for the budget. The electors have 
not gained their paradise. But what does 
that matter ? Mr. George got their votes. 

On October 9, Mr. George spoke at New- 
castle. The speech was a long one, and 
perhaps more inaccurate in its details than 
any other that he delivered. It is interesting 
as showing that Mr. George, at that period, 
believed it was less necessary to defend the 
budget than to attack the Lords. After asking 
a series of questions with regard to the peers, 
he announced: 

"The answ-ers are charged with peril for 
the order of things the peers represent, but 
they are fraught with rare and refreshing fruit 

" The People's Budget" 115 

for the parched lips of the multitude who have 
been treading the dusty road along which the 
people have marched through the dark ages 
which are now emerging into the light." 

Well, the peers have gone, so far as their 
power in politics is concerned, and what have 
the people got in return ? Where is the rare 
and refreshing fruit, and in what way has the 
budget helped anyone along the dusty road 
or brought them into the light ? It is well 
that these wild statements should be kept in 
remembrance. Votes were won on them, and 
if Mr. George is to remain in politics we are 
sure to have similar deceptive nonsense in the 
time to come. If we place in one column 
the actual results of the budget, and in the 
other extracts from Mr. George's speeches 
similar to that which we have just given, it 
would not be the budget alone that would 
be condemned. Mr. George would receive 
his just reward of reprobation. 



THE National Insurance Bill was introduced 
into the House of Commons by the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer on May 4, 1911. In his 
opening sentences Mr. George said : 

" I think it must be a relief to members to 
turn from controversial questions for a mo- 
ment to a question which, at any rate, has 
never been the subject of controversy between 
the parties of the State. I believe there is 
general agreement as to the evil which has to 
be remedied. I believe that there is general 
agreement as to its basis, and I think I can 
even say there is general agreement as to the 
many principles on which the remedy ought 
to be based." 

This was a characteristic beginning. In 
this matter "of general agreement" the wish 
was father to the thought. It is quite true, 
however, that all parties in the House of 
Commons were anxious to put on the Statute 
Book a sound scheme of insurance, and if 
Mr. George had been less Mr. George and 
more of a statesman, had been less of the 


The Insurance Act 117 

autocrat in a hurry, and more genuinely 
anxious to avail himself of the help and 
counsel of all, he might have secured for the 
nation a measure which would have been a 
boon and a blessing. The bill was given 
a second reading on May 29 without opposi- 
tion. It then went into Committee. That, of 
course, was the opportunity for criticism of 
details. That criticism was forthcoming from 
all quarters of the House, and Mr. George did 
not resent it. Speaking on August 4, he said : 

"We have now had twelve days in Com- 
mittee, but I think that the progress that has 
been made has been very satisfactory on the 
whole. The debates have not been contro- 
versial in character. If I may be allowed to 
say so, I think that the Committee have re- 
sponded to the invitation of the Government, 
that the House as a whole should take part 
in moulding and fashioning the bill." 

On the same occasion he added : 

" In view of the alterations made, I think, 
on the whole, they are improvements to the 
bill. I say quite candidly that these criticisms 
on both sides of the House have been exceed- 
ingly helpful, and the alterations have been 
toward the improvement of the bill. I have 
received very valuable assistance from mem- 
bers of all parties." 

That was the position of affairs when the 

ii8 The Real Lloyd George 

House of Commons rose. It seems as if Mr. 
Lloyd George had realised that his task was 
a gigantic one, that its success was far from 
being assured, and that his only chance was 
to disarm opposition by welcoming criticism. 
But during the summer recess the country 
had a good deal to say, and the country 
spoke with two voices. First there were 
those w 7 ho acclaimed Mr. George as being 
the saviour of the human race, and who wel- 
comed his proposals as being good for the 
country and excellent for the Radical Party 
prospects. One cannot help feeling that when 
these expressions of opinion were showered 
upon the Chancellor he must have deplored 
the fact that a bill which so many of his 
friends assured him would make the fortunes 
of his party, had been introduced by him to the 
House of Commons as a non-party measure. 

But while a section of the people were 
loudly cheering their Lloyd George, another 
section were quietly at work examining the 
provisions of the bill and voicing their opposi- 
tion. During the summer recess the critics 
had time for thought and preparation, and 
the numberless pages of amendments which 
were set down must have come as a rude 
awakening to the Chancellor. What, then, 
did he do ? Just before the House rose he 
had welcomed Unionist criticism and had 
expressed his gratitude for Unionist amend- 

The Insurance Act 119 

merits. Immediately the House reassembled 
he dramatically changed his policy. He 
rushed to the guillotine. The Government, 
at his bidding, determined to stifle discussion 
in the House and drive the bill through. 
Thus it happened that for the Report stage 
of the whole bill, including ten schedules, 
only five days were allotted. Not one of the 
seventy-seven clauses of Part I. of the bill was 
open to consideration, although there were 
over 700 amendments down on the paper. 
Out of these 700 amendments some 470 were 
Government amendments, and they were in- 
serted in the bill without a word" of discussion. 

When we come to Part II. of the bill, the 
unemployment insurance portion, on the Re- 
port stage, 16 out of 25 clauses were passed 
without discussion, under the guillotine. 

Part III. of the bill and the greater part of 
the schedules were also not discussed at all. 

So when the third reading of the bill was 
pressed on December 6, 1911, the following 
resolution was moved on behalf of the 
Unionist Party : 

"That, while approving the objects of Na- 
tional Insurance, this House is of the opinion 
that under Part I. of the bill the public funds 
and individual contributions will not be used 
to the best advantage of those most closely 
affected, and thnt, as the bill has been neither 
adequately discussed in this House, nor fully 

I2O The Real Lloyd George 

explained to the country, and would in its 
present form be unequal in its operation, 
steps should be taken to enable further con- 
sideration of Part I. to be resumed next 
session, and, in the meanwhile, to have the 
draft regulations published." 

This resolution was rejected by the Radical 
Party, and the bill was sent up to the House 
of Lords on December 6. And much to the 
annoyance of Mr. George's democratic sup- 
porters in the country, the Lords passed the 
bill. It is possible that the Lords had come 
to the conclusion that the nation would not 
really appreciate Mr. Lloyd George until they 
had paid for him. 

Probably there is no other man alive who 
would have dreamt of rushing through a 
national insurance bill. At least, we hope 
so. We trust, too, that no other man who has 
pretentions to be known as a statesman, will 
ever attempt again to subvert the social and 
industrial conditions of the whole nation with- 
out first making prolonged and elaborate 
inquiries. Mr. George, it is true, claims that 
he devoted three years to the work. We 
believe that the German statesman devoted 
thirty. The problem was a difficult one. It 
was immense. The bill would affect every- 
body. And nearly everybody would have to 
pay. Surely, when compulsion is used against 

The Insurance Act 121 

a whole nation, the utmost possible care should 
be taken to provide that that which the people 
are compelled to pay for is the thing which the 
people want. But there was another grave 
feature in the problem. Years and years 
before Mr. George or anyone else in politics 
gave a thought to national insurance, a mag- 
nificent work had been carried on by voluntary 
agencies. The history of the Friendly Society 
movement is a thrilling one. It is the story of 
men who spent the whole of their days through- 
out the years of their life in toil, and who yet 
were found willing to devote evening after 
evening to the work of succouring their less 
fortunate friends. The Friendly Society move- 
ment was a purely working-class movement. 
By courage, resolution, and devotion it passed 
from its humble beginnings into a great scheme 
with widespread blessings for the people of the 
land. We only see the fringe of the Friendly 
Society movement if we think of sick pay and 
the actual relief given. The inspiration which 
uplifted its founders, and which has impelled, 
and to-day does impel, its leaders and workers, 
is the life-breath of citizen duty and of brotherly 
love. A man who imperils a glorious move- 
ment of this kind in order to advance an ill- 
considered scheme of his own, is a man who 
should for ever after be stripped of power. 
The extent of evil which Mr. George has dealt 

122 The Real Lloyd George 

to the Friendly Society movement cannot yet 
be fully estimated. There can be no question, 
however, that in far too many cases he has 
degraded Friendly Society lodges from their 
high duties of brotherhood into mere agencies 
for the paying and receiving of sick funds. 

Of coure, he foresaw that Friendly Society 
men would fight to the last for their order. In 
the first sentences of the speech in which he 
introduced the bill, he had pleasant words for 
them. He said : 

" All the agencies which deal with sickness 
or unemployment are of a thoroughly unselfish 
and beneficent character, and we shall be able, 
I think, to assist them, not merely without 
interfering with their rights and privileges, but 
by encouraging them to do the excellent work 
which they have commenced, and which they 
are doing so well." 

Again, addressing the National Conference 
of Friendly Societies at the Hearts of Oak 
Buildings, Euston Road, on June 29, 1911, he 
said : 

" He would not put his hand to any bill 
which would interfere with the beneficent 
operation of the Friendly Societies. Anything 
which would interfere with the utility of their 
careers would be a great public disaster." 
(The Times, June 30, 1911.) 

In movements which number many hun- 

The Insurance Act 123 

dreds of thousands of men, there must always 
be found some members who are pushful and 
self-seeking, and care more for their own 
advancement in life than for the interests which 
have been committed to their care. The grave 
charge which the Friendly Societies passion- 
ately make against the Chancellor is, that he 
bargained with some of their leaders with a 
sheaf of false pledges in the one hand, and a 
bundle of promises of appointments to remun- 
erative posts under the Act in the other. Many 
of the leaders have been splendidly true to the 
men. Some of the leaders have misled the 
men, have played for their own hand, and have 
received the reward which was promised them. 
Certain it is that the Friendly Societies have 
been treated with scandalous injustice, and 
that their movement, in many of its essentials, 
has been gravely imperilled. I am not at all 
sure that the same words must not be written 
with regard to the Trade Unions as well. 

And what about the doctors ? In the speech 
in which he introduced the bill we find the 
following passage: 

"The doctor. is a very great sufferer indeed. 
I do not think it is right that we should do 
our charity at the expense of a hard-worked 

Every doctor who read that must have patted 
himself on the back, and have assured himself 


124 The Real Lloyd George 

that a good time was at last comin< 
when the doctors, like the Friendly Societies, 
came to examine details, they found all was 
not well. And when they came to tell the 
Chancellor that all was not well, he set to work 
with matchless cunning to play one off against 
the other. His attitude to the doctors, at any 
rate, underwent a great change. But they 
were still the same doctors. They were still 
f< divine healers," and I suppose they were still 
" suffering." But when they wanted something 
to which they believed they were entitled, and 
which it was not convenient for Mr. George to 
give them, he no longer said: 

" I do not think it right that we should do 
our charity at the expense of the doctors." 

But he deplored with a magnificent show of 
indignation what he called the "sick-room 

In his Birmingham speech on July n, 1911, 
he announced : 

" I had two hours' discussion with the 
medical men themselves the other day. I do 
not think there has been anything like it since 
the day when Daniel went into the lions' den. 
I was on the dissecting-table for two hours, 
but I can assure you they treated me with the 
same civility that the lions treated my illus- 
trious predecessor. You must remember this 
discussion about what they ought to be paid 

The Insurance Act 125 

is an old one. I cannot say that I care very 
much for this wrangle in the sick-room. It is 
unpleasant, and may well become unseemly/' 

Not only are the Friendly Societies and the 
doctors indignant, but the chemists are con- 
vinced that they have been harshly treated. 
And when we come to the great crowd beyond, 
all those for whom the Act has been framed, 
we are met with a veritable storm of indigna- 
tion. The Friendly Societies have been sold ; 
the doctors have been sold ; the chemists 
have been sold ; and the great public has been 
sold as well. 

This is not a text-book of the Insurance Act ; 
indeed that is not my purpose. By taking a 
few typical illustrations, I shall be able to 
prove my case. And it is this. The failure 
of the Act is the failure of Mr. George, and 
Mr. George should bear the responsibility. If 
statesmen, when they fail, are allowed to ride 
off scot-free, we are merely making even 
greater trouble in the future a certainty. If 
Mr. George had had no earlier failure and 
truth compels us to admit that his political 
life has been one long series of failures the 
Insurance Act alone should disqualify him 
from meddling with our concerns in the future. 
Our charge against him with regard to the 
Act is not merely, however, that he has failed, 
but it is also that he has made so many 

126 The Real Lloyd George 

pledges which have been broken, that we 
should be fools ever to trust him again. There 
was the yd. for $d. pledge. If Ananias had 
devoted himself to vote-catching, he could not 
have improved on that invention. I suppose 
that everyone knows now, and has known for 
some time, the qd. for ^d. cry was a lie, and 
nothing but a lie. Even Mr. George himself 
has long since discarded it. And his sup- 
porters bitterly regret that it was ever made 
use of. 

Mr. Philip Snowden denounced this cry on 
October 16, 1911 : 

" On Saturday night Mr. Lloyd George 
repeated once again the market-place, cheap- 
jack cry about the offer of gd. for 44?. ... As 
a matter of fact, it was not true to say that 
the bill was going to give gd. of benefits for 
each 4< contributed by the working-man." 

If it was not true in 1911, it has been 
scandalously untrue in 1913, now that the Act 
is in force. 

Mr. George's attitude with regard to the 
people's reception of his measure is pathetic. 
During the period when the public were paying, 
and before they were qualified to receive bene- 
fits, Mr. George turned round upon his critics 
and rent them with the assurance that every- 
thing would soonbe changed. When the public 
received their benefits, they would be loud in 

The Insurance Act 127 

their praises of the Act, and the critics would 
be howled down. But now, for months the 
public have been receiving their benefits, such 
as they are, and their outcry against the Act 
merely increases. How does Mr. George ex- 
plain this ? It is Tory misrepresentation, he 
says. But to whom are these misrepresenta- 
tions made? To the people who are receiving. 
They are paying their 4^., and if they were 
receiving their 9^., all the misrepresentations 
in the world would not convince them that 
they were getting a farthing less. The fact is 
that the people know more about the Act than 
those who speak on the Act, and they pro- 
bably know a great deal more about the Act 
than the author of the Act himself. And if 
they had ever been consulted upon the Act, 
they would have been sharers in the respon- 
sibility for it. They were not consulted, and 
the whole burden of odium falls, and rightly 
falls, on Mr. George, the autocrat. 

While we are dealing with wild promises 
and broken pledges, we should not omit the 
sanatoria treatment. Speaking at Birmingham 
on June 10, Mr. George said : 

" What do we do in the bill ? We open a 
new prospect for that worker. We plant all 
over Britain cities of refuge to which he can 
flee from this avenger of life. We are setting 
a million and a half aside for the purpose of 

128 The Real Lloyd George 

building sanatoria throughout the country. 
There will be a million for maintaining them. 
The worker now will be able to command 
medical attendance. He will discover the 
disease in time. He will be taken to these 
institutions. In a few months the bulk of 
the cases that are taken in time are cured. 
He will be restored to his hearth, restored to 
his workshop, a fit, capable citizen, instead of 
being a wreck. Now, that is one thing we 
are doing." (Cheers.) 

No wonder there were cheers. The audi- 
ence did not know that Mr. George was doing 
nothing of the kind. The audience did not 
know that Mr. George was wholly wrong in 
his statement that " in a few months the bulk 
of the cases that are taken in time are cured." 
To my thinking, it is difficult to imagine any- 
thing more heartless than the wild hopes which 
Mr. George encouraged amongst consumptives 
with regard to what would happen under 
his Act. 

In Germany sanatoria treatment for con- 
sumptives has been given for 20 years, and it 
is recognised that the treatment is lamentably 
unsuccessful. Official figures give the death- 
roll of those admitted into sanatoria as follows : 
In i to ij years ... 25 per cent. die. 
In 2 to 2\ years ... 28 ,, 
In 3 to 3j years ... 55 
In 4 years ..... 67 ,, 

The Insurance Act 129 

Mr. George's speeches with regard to sana- 
toria benefit led the public to believe that 
a consumptive had a right of immediate entry 
to sanatoria and to immediate treatment. 
Recent decisions under the Act deny this, 
and even if it were admitted, the sanatoria 
themselves are not yet, in many cases, in exis- 
tence. The public have been paying for, and 
are actually paying for, a benefit which the 
Government is unable to give. 

A really shocking breach of faith is ex- 
posed in the matter of the denial of a free 
choice of doctor. The promises with regard 
to this were as specific as they could be. 

At a special representative meeting of the 
British Medical Association held in the Ex- 
amination Hall of the Royal College of Physi- 
cians and surgeons on June i, 1911, Mr. 
George said : 

" / am on all grounds in favour of a free choice 
of doctor. I think one of the essentials of curing 
is that the patient should have faith in his doctor ; 
and you cannot have faith in your doctor if you 
have doctors thrust on you whom you have not 
chosen, who for various reasons, most of them, 
unsatisfactory, the patient may not believe in. 
Therefore I am myself strongly in favour of 
the system which I believe exists in two or 
three towns of this country in setting up a 
panel on which all qualified medical practi- 


130 The Real Lloyd George 

tioners will be able to serve not compelled 
to serve ; no doctor will be obliged to take 
this work but on which a qualified medical 
practitioner will be qualified to serve. . . ." 
(Times, June 2, 1911.) 

In a letter to Sir Donald MacAlister, Mr. 
George wrote : 

" It will be possible under the bill for Local 
Health Committees to make arrangements 
such as to admit of the l free choice of doctor* 
by the person insured. There must, however, 
be some limit on this freedom of choice, as 
the insured person cannot be allowed to 
change his doctor every month or every three 
months. Moreover, there must be some method 
of securing a panel of doctors which would 
prevent work being done by members of the 
profession who had shown themselves unfit 
for the performance of what would become 
a very responsible duty." (Times, June 20, 

We set on the one side the promises and 
on the other their failure : 


What Mr. Lloyd George said Mr. Lloyd George has not 

only broken his own promises, 

". . . Another thing estab- but has broken the spirit, if 

lished under the bill is this : not the letter, of the Insurance 

He (the workman) can have Act itself. (Sec. 15 (3).) He 

the doctor of his own choice. does not allow anyone claim- 

... So we say to him, ' Go ing medical benefit to employ 

The Insurance Act 

to the doctor you believe in.' any doctor outside the panel 
. . . What a fine thing it is 
to get the doctor you want 
and get somebody else to pay 
for him. . . ." (Mr. Lloyd 
George at Whitefield's Taber- 
nacle. Daily News, Oct. 16, 

unless in very exceptional 
cases; and so "the absolute 
right of free choice " is taken 

What the Act itself says 

" The regulations shall . . . 
allow any other persons ... to 
make their own arrangements 
for receiving medical attend- 
ance . . . and the Committee 
shall . . . contribute . . . 
sums not exceeding ... the 
amounts which the Committee 
would otherwise have ex- 
pended in providing medical 
benefit for them. . . ." (Section 
IS (3)0 

What the Official Medical 
Ticket says 

" If you are arranging with 
the Insurance Committee to 
obtain your treatment from a 
doctor not on the list, and 
wish to claim a contribution 
towards the cost of the treat- 
ment, you must send this ticket 
to the Insurance Committee." 

Mr. Lloyd George, address- 
ing the Advisory Committee 
on January 2, 1913, said : 

". . . Ithas been assumed by a 
certain number of medical men 
not by the whole that the 
insured person has got an abso- 
lute indefeasible right to make 
arrangements apart from the 
Local Insurance Committees 
or the National Insurance 
Commissioners with any doc- 
tor he likes, whether he is on 
or off the panel. We had to 
issue a notice the other day 
to say that this was a com- 
pletely erroneous idea. . . . 
{Times, January 3, 1913.) 

For those who groan under the Insurance 
Act, who are indignant over its hardships and 
injustices, and who feel disposed to blame 
both parties in the State for the evil that has 
befallen them, we set out a list of some of 
the amendments which the Unionist members 
attempted to carry. We claim that it is as 

132 The Real Lloyd George 

much to our credit that we did everything in 
our power to obtain these amendments as it 
is to the discredit of Mr. George and his 
Government that they refused them and out- 
voted us. 

Some of the amendments which Unionist 
members proposed and which were accepted by 
the Government: 

(1) An amendment allowing sick pay to 
exceed two-thirds of the wages. 

The Government proposed to cut down the 
sick pay. The Unionists, who were supposed 
to have no sympathy with the working classes, 
realised that when men were sick their ex- 
penses, as likely as not, would exceed those 
wages upon which they were able to live 
when they were well. Mr. Lloyd George's 
bill proposed to restrict sick pay to two- 
thirds of the wages only. 

The nation should be grateful to the 
Unionists for having carried an amendment 
to so unfair a proposal. 

(2) An amendment allowing the total sick 
pay from all clubs, &c., to exceed the wages. 

The Government proposed to prevent any 
man from receiving from all his insurances 
a sum that was greater than the amount of 
his wages. There are many prudent workmen 
who insure in several clubs against the loss 
they sustain when sick. Had the Unionists 

The Insurance Act 133 

not carried this amendment, very grave in- 
justices would have followed, quite apart from 
the denial to a man of the receipt of that for 
which he had paid. 

(3) Another amendment was to allow sick- 
ness benefit to be paid where board and 
lodging were given. 

An incredibly harsh proposal was contained 
in the bill which Mr. Lloyd George intro- 
duced. Any domestic servant who was pro- 
vided with board and lodging by her employer 
could receive no sick pay, unless she was, 
first of all, turned out of the house. 

A large section of the community consists 
of domestic servants, and many humane em- 
ployers will be grateful to the Unionists for 
this just proposition. 

(4) Another amendment which the Unionists 
succeeded in carrying was to allow sick pay 
and disablement benefit to be given in re- 
spect of diseases arising during the waiting 

The Government's proposal was to refuse 
to give these benefits, if the illness arose 
within the waiting period : from any disease 
which existed during the first six months in 
the case of sick pay, or two years in the case 
of disablement after the commencement of 
the Act. 

The Unionists realised that sick persons 

134 The Real Lloyd George 

and disabled persons could not be healthy 
or sound at their own will merely to gratify 
Mr. Lloyd George, and they determined that 
the needs of these persons should not be 
denied by the harsh scheme which the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer proposed. 

They also carried an amendment which 
provided that medical and surgical appliances 
should be added to the medical benefit. 

Some of the amendments which Unionist 
members proposed and which were rejected by 
the Government : 

The Unionists moved an amendment to 
make sick pay payable from the first day of 
illness, instead of the fourth day. Why should 
a man who has insured against sickness be 
condemned to be sick and to suffer the loss 
that sickness brings for three whole days ? 
Is he to make quite sure that he is sick, or is 
he to make Mr. Lloyd George quite sure that 
he is sick, or is it simply a question of mean- 
ness, or a lack of sympathy for sickness ? 
The great Friendly Societies have paid on the 
first day, and many of them still do. They 
do not proclaim their beneficent scheme as 
being a glorified measure of National Insur- 
ance. They simply, quietly, thoroughly, 
quickly, and most effectively do their work. 
To this amendment of the Unionist Party 
Mr. Lloyd George would not give way, and 

The Insurance Act 135 

the Radical Government would not give way, 
and every man and woman who pays has to 
be sick for three days, and suffer the loss, 
before they can get any benefit at all. 

Another important amendment, moved by 
the Unionists and refused by the Radicals, 
was to allow members of Friendly Societies 
to pay their own contributions direct to their 
own societies, instead of having them de- 
ducted from their wages. One cannot imagine 
why this amendment was refused, unless it 
was out of the desire to deliberately under- 
mine the machinery of the Friendly Societies, 
and break down that friendly society spirit, 
which is something very different to the spirit 
of the Insurance Act. 

The Unionists in the House of Commons 
made a prolonged fight to secure a real in- 
surance for the Post Office Deposit Contri- 
butors. In this they failed. The Government 
was inflexible. The Post Office Contribu- 
tors are the least happily placed of all those 
who come under the Act. 

The Unionists believe that the measure of 
success of an Act of Parliament is to be found 
in the test as to whether it gives the greatest 
relief to those who most needed relief. The 
Radical Government, however, in their treat- 
ment of Post Office Contributors, showed that 
they declined to be the poor man's friend, and 

136 The Real Lloyd George 

were prepared to hit a man simply because 
he was down. 

Another most important amendment which 
the Unionist Party moved, was to try to 
secure sickness and disablement benefits after 
70 to all who are not eligible for Old Age 
Pensions. This, again, was a case of suc- 
couring the most needy. The position of 
persons over 70 in the Act to-day, now that the 
Radicals out-voted the Unionists' amendment, 
is nothing less than a scandal. Old folk 
may for some reason or other have lost 
their votes. This may appear to be an un- 
charitable explanation of the Radical action 
in the matter, but it is the only one that is 

Other equally important amendments which 
the Unionists proposed, and which were re- 
jected, were as follows : 

An amendment to reduce the waiting period 
in sickness from 26 to 13 weeks, and to reduce 
the waiting period from disablement from 
104 to 52 weeks. Until these amendments 
are carried, the Act will be fraught with grave 
injustice, and will inflict upon hundreds of 
thousands of persons unmerited misery and 

Another amendment was that all those over 
18 years of age should be entitled to full 
benefits, and not the special reduced benefits 

The Insurance Act 137 

provided in the bill for unmarried persons 
under 21. 

Two other amendments which would have 
been extremely helpful to organisations which 
had carried on insurance work long before 
the Radical Government even dreamt of it, 
were as follows : 

The amendment to allow present members 
of Friendly Societies to have immediate 
benefits under the Act, instead of waiting six 
months for sick pay and two years disable- 
ment benefit. The Unionist Party felt that, 
seeing that these Friendly Society members 
had in many cases been paying for many years, 
it was the height of injustice that they should 
have to start a new period of waiting, and be 
precisely on the same footing as persons who 
had never made any provision for themselves 
at all. 

The last amendment that we need notice 
was to reduce the members necessary to form 
an Approved Society from 5000 to 1000. 

We are all aware that there were in existence 
large numbers of small societies which were 
admirably conducted, and fully able to meet 
their liabilities. The harsh demand that only a 
society with a membership of 5000 would be 
able to become an Approved Society, dealt 
cruelly with a large number of deserving 

138 The Real Lloyd George 

We do not suggest that these lists, even if 
all the amendments became law, would make 
the Act flawless. The National Insurance Act 
must be overhauled from end to end, and the 
people, who were not consulted before the Act 
became law, must be called in as welcome 
experts to advise and to help. Inquiries 
should be made by experts in every trade, and 
amongst every section of the community, not 
merely as to the effect of the present Act, but 
as to the real desires of the people, so that they 
may be embodied, where they are practicable, 
in an amending Act. To those who, for party 
reasons, would prefer that an amendment 
should be made by the present Government, 
we would point out why we think this is un- 
desirable. The mere fact that there is necessity 
to reconstruct a house only a few months after 
it has been completed, is a vote of censure on 
the architect. Surely it would be better to 
call in a new firm, who would be more anxious 
to make the structure sound and safe than to 
consider the personal feelings and emotions 
of the man who was responsible for the faulty 
premises. And even beyond this, Mr. George 
and the present Government have forfeited the 
confidence of the voluntary thrift societies. 
The part which those organisations must play 
in the amending Act will be an important one, 
and it would be unreasonable to ask them once 
again to give their invaluable advice to men 

The Insurance Act 139 

who have broken faith with them, and have 
done their utmost to undermine, if not actually 
to destroy, them. 

On June 24, 1913, an amending Act was 
introduced by the Chancellor. It is scarcely 
reassuring to those who suffer under a variety 
of injustices that this Act should have been 
brought in under the ten-minutes' rule. How- 
ever, in later stages, the Government, no doubt, 
will offer a larger opportunity for criticism. 
Unionists will welcome the provision which 
gives medical benefit to those over 65. The 
fact that this should be conceded is a tribute 
to them. They have fought hard for it for 

At present no good purpose would be served 
by criticising in detail the proposals of the 
amending Act, but it may be permitted to us 
to point out some of the greatest hardships 
which that Act ignores. 

The wrongs of Deposit Contributors have 
been left untouched. The four separate Com- 
missions are still unremoved. Sick pay is still 
withheld during the first three days. The 
societies have not received back the provision 
of medical benefit. 

It may be that the provisions of the amending 
Act will be approved of as far as they go ; 
but if Mr. George thinks they go far enough, 
he must have a better opinion of his Insurance 
Act than anyone else. 


WHEN we find Mr. George buying American 
Marconi shares, we are compelled to form a 
judgment upon the transactions from two 
points of view. Mr. George is a Cabinet 
Minister, but he is also Mr. George. As a 
Cabinet Minister his conduct must conform to 
the traditions of the public service, and as Mr. 
George said, it must be consistent with the 
principles which, in the past, he has been 
good enough to lay down for others. 

There is no doubt that he did buy American 
Marconis. He himself has said so. He bought 
them on April 17, 1912. He and the Chief 
Whip, the Master of Elibank, bought 2000 
between them on that date, and bought them 
from His Majesty's Attorney-General. 

It was very fortunate that they did buy on 
the iyth, because on the i8th, by a happy 
coincidence, the American Company formally 
agreed to issue the shares, and in consequence 
the price jumped up. And the price still went 
up, with the result that Mr. George was able, 


American Marconis and After 141 

on April 20, to sell on behalf of himself and 
the Radical Chief Whip, 1000 out of the 2000 
shares, at the price of 3^-. 

Now, as he had bought those shares on the 
iyth at .2, and sold half of them on the 2oth 
at 3^3- per share, Mr. George must have 
accounted himself a very fortunate person. 

The Attorney-General seems to have had 
control of the other half of the 2000 shares, 
which were held in the joint interest of Mr. 
George and the Chief Whip. And Sir Rufus 
Isaacs was busy selling too. He was able to 
dispose of 357 of Mr. George's shares and 357 
of the Chief Whip's. And he sold them these 
shares which had been bought for 2 apiece 
he sold them at an average price of .3, 6s. 6d. 
So far Mr. George had made a promising start 
as a speculator. He had begun with 1000 
shares, half of the 2000 shares which he and 
the Chief Whip held together, and which an 
obliging Attorney-General had placed at their 
disposal. Of his 1000 shares there had been 
sold 857, and they had been sold at so good a 
price that he had made a profit of 743, and 
still retained 143 shares which cost him 

Unhappily Mr. George was not satisfied. No 
more was the Chief Whip. On May 22 
they bought on joint account 3000 more 
American Marconi shares, and they paid- 

142 The Real Lloyd George 

they ought to have paid but they didn't 2^ 
for them. 

After crediting Mr. George for the shares 
which he had sold, and debiting him for his 
share of the 3000 shares which had been 
bought, he owed his brokers .3486. This was 
apparently a big sum for him to find, and it 
was not till the October following that he paid 
one-third of it, namely, 1162, to his brokers, 
and was seemingly compelled to borrow the 
rest of the amount due, from his brokers at a 
rate of interest varying from 5^ per cent, to 7 
per cent. 

Up to the time when the Marconi Com- 
mittee's report was issued, Mr. George's shares 
were still with his brokers. They were held 
as security for the amount due to them, and 
we have not been informed as to whether the 
loan has yet been discharged. 

Meanwhile, the Radical Chief Whip went 
further and did worse. On April 18, 1912, 
he bought 2500 American Marconi shares at 
3J, and May 14 of the same year he bought 
another 500, at 2-^-. These purchases were 
made by the Radical Chief Whip, so we are 
told, on behalf of the Liberal Party funds. 

Mr. George was the Finance Minister of the 
British Empire ; Sir Rufus Isaacs was the 
Attorney-General ; and the Master of Elibank 
was the Chief Whip of the Radical Party. 

American Marconis and After 143 

Now, what was the American Marconi Com- 
pany in which these distinguished Ministers 
interested themselves ? 

There was an English Marconi Company 
and an American Marconi Company. It is 
important to see whether there was any con- 
nection between the two. First as to the 
English Company. Mr. Godfrey Isaacs, who 
happened to be the brother of the Attorney- 
General, was and is the Managing-Director of 
the English Company. It was he who opened 
negotiations on behalf of his Company with the 
British Government for the construction of a 
chain of long-distance wireless stations round 
the Empire. The negotiations began in March 
1910, and it was not until March 7, 1912, that 
the general terms of his Company's tender 
were accepted by the Post Office. 

And that is where another Minister, Mr. 
Herbert Samuel, comes in. 

Before March 7, 1912, however, important 
financial events had happened. On December 
18, 1911, the Post Office and Mr. Godfrey 
Isaacs practically came to an agreement as to 
the chief terms on which the Marconi Com- 
pany would undertake the erection of the 
wireless stations. The English Marconi shares 
rose rapidly in sympathy, and it is clear that the 
market anticipated the ultimate acceptance of 
the tender, which was not reached till March 7. 

144 The Real Lloyd George 

Now, as it must then have been in contem- 
plation to issue on the British market a large 
number of the American Marconi shares, 
which was actually done, it was important 
that there should be a boom in the English 
shares. How was this to be attained ? We 
make no suggestions, but surely it will be 
obvious that if it became known in the City 
that British Cabinet Ministers were buying 
American Marconis, so distinguished a lead 
would in all likelihood be followed. 

Let us see what happened. Two days after 
the acceptance of the English Marconi tender 
for the Imperial chain, Mr. Godfrey Isaacs, 
the General Manager of the English Com- 
pany, and Mr. Marconi sailed for New York. 
Their business was to get the American Com- 
pany on its legs, and they achieved this. 
On March 16 there was a banquet in New 
York in honour of Mr. Marconi, and curiously 
enough the English Attorney-General sent a 
wireless congratulatory telegram, which was 
read out at that banquet : 

"Please congratulate Marconi and my 
brother on the successful development of the 
marvellous enterprise. I wish them all success 
in New York, and hope that by the time they 
come back the Coal Strike will be finished." 

Why the Coal Strike ? And why the tele- 
gram at all ? 

American Marconis and After 145 

In New York, negotiations were hurried for- 
ward, and an agreement was signed on March 
10, 1912, between the English Marconi Com- 
pany and the American Company, the English 
Company contracting, subject to the licence of 
the British Postmaster-General, to erect in or 
near London a high power-station for the pur- 
pose of wireless communication from America 
to places in and beyond London, and from 
England to places in and beyond America. 

Now, what is the association between the 
English Company and the American Com- 
pany ? The American Company was founded 
by the English Company. Until April 1912 
the English Company held the majority of 
its shares and nominated three of its directors. 
The financial expenditure of the American 
Company was initiated and in the main carried 
through by the English Company, and the 
patents belonging to the American Company 
were the same as those of the English Com- 
pany. If the English Company succeeded, it 
was less likely that the American Company 
would fail. If the English Company failed, it 
could only be by a miracle that the American 
Company would succeed. The fact that the 
English Company had the prestige of an 
accepted tender with the English Govern- 
ment, would, as far as it went, and we have 
no doubt that this fact did go a long way in 


146 The Real Lloyd George 

New York, be a help in the formation of the 
American Company. Sir Rufus Isaac's tele- 
gram to New York, coming from the Attorney- 
General, would be a new factor making for 
success, and the knowledge subsequently 
bruited abroad that Cabinet Ministers were 
putting money into American Marconis would 
surely be another bull point. And a very 
useful bull point too, when a considerable pro- 
portion of the American Company's capital 
was to be found in the British market. 

Let us deal with another class of considera- 
tions. When the Attorney-General, the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer, and the Radical Chief 
Whip put money into American Marconis, 
there was no concluded contract between the 
English Company and the British Govern- 

Speaking in the House of Commons, on 
October u, 1912, the Postmaster-General 
denied that he had signed a contract on 
March 7. His actual words were : 

" I signed no contract. The Marconi Com- 
pany put in a tender in general terms. A letter 
was written by the Post Office accepting the 
tender upon which a contract was subsequently 
to be based." 

What does this amount to ? The Attorney- 
General had interested himself in the American 
Company, which was undeniably dependent 

American Marconis and After 147 

for its success on a similar British Company, 
and as Attorney-General he might be called 
upon to advise his own Government as to 
whether a contract with the English Company 
was a contract which they should enter into. 
The Chancellor of the Exchequer might simi- 
larly have been called upon to budget for the 
monies to be paid under that contract, and 
the Radical Chief Whip would, if a division 
were challenged, find it to be his duty to rally 
the forces of the Government in the lobby in 
support of the contract. Fortunately, none 
of these events actually did happen ; but 
surely it was a risk which no British Minister 
should ever take. 

Everyone does foolish things at times, even 
the cleverest of us. These American Marconi 
speculations were gravely objectionable, and 
public forgiveness will largely depend on the 
motives and the intentions of the speculators. 
The Attorney-General, the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, and the Chief Whip of the Radical 
Party were living on terms of the closest per- 
sonal intimacy at the time when the specula- 
tions were made ; and Mr. Godfrey Isaacs, the 
Attorney-General's brother, by reason of his 
position as Managing Director of the British 
Company, had information which no other 
living man possessed. That information was 
conveyed to the Attorney-General, and by him 

148 The Real Lloyd George 

to the Chancellor and the Chief Whip. A 
bitter controversy centres on the point as to 
whether, as the result of this privileged infor- 
mation, the speculators bought at a better 
price than the outside public. We think that 
this undoubtedly was so, but the point is 
really immaterial. The grave charge against 
them is that they should ever have bought at 
all. They might or might not have been 
under an obligation to Mr. Godfrey Isaacs, 
but once having an interest in the Company 
itself, it is impossible to believe that they 
could be free agents in any developments 
that might subsequently arise. 

Both Sir Rufus Isaacs and Mr. George, in 
the debate which took place in the House 
on June 18, 1913, made frank admission 
that they ought not to have bought American 
Marconis. Sir Rufus Isaacs said : 

" I need scarcely tell the House that I have 
given this matter very careful consideration 
before I made this statement, and I say 
solemnly and sincerely that in what I have 
stated, I think, in plain terms, I agree, and 
will put it in language which, at any rate, 
is not too kindly to myself, that it was a 
mistake to purchase those shares." 

On the same occasion Mr. Lloyd George 
admitted : 

" If you will, I acted thoughtlessly, I acted 

American Marconis and After 149 

carelessly, I acted mistakenly ; but I acted 
innocently, I acted openly, and I acted 

Who are these men who acted mistakenly 
and thoughtlessly ? The one is the Attorney- 
General, a man of brilliant intellect, the other 
is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, upon 
whose judgment the finance of the whole 
country depends. 

We are reluctant to pursue harshly the 
question of motives and good faith, but truth 
compels us to observe that even if Sir Rufus 
Isaacs and Mr. George admitted that the 
transaction itself was regrettable, their con- 
duct in connection with the matter was even 
more so. Rumour had been busy over the 
whole business, and a discussion took place 
in the House on October n, 1912. On that 
day Mr. Herbert Samuel moved for the ap- 
pointment of a Select Committee to investi- 
gate the circumstances connected with the 
negotiation and completion of the contract, 
and to report on the desirability of the 
contract. In the course of the discussion, 
Sir Rufus Isaacs and Mr. George spoke. 
They made no disclosure whatever of their 
interest in American Marconi shares. Indeed, 
they used language which at least colourably 
suggested that they had no interest in any 
Marconi shares at all. 

150 The Real Lloyd George 

Mr. George said : 

" I want to know what these rumours are* 
If the Hon. gentleman has any charge to make 
against the Government as a whole, or against 
individual members of it, I think it ought to 
be stated openly. The reason why the Govern- 
ment wanted a frank discussion before going 
to Committee was because we wanted to bring 
here these rumours these sinister rumours 
that have been passed from one foul lip to the 
other behind the backs of the House/' 

The Attorney-General stated : 

" Never from the beginning, when the shares 
were 145. or g, have I had one single transac- 
tion with the shares of that Company. I am 
speaking not only for myself, but I am also 
speaking on behalf, I know, of both my Rt. 
Hon. friends, the Postmaster-General and the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, in some 
way or other in some of the articles, have 
been brought into this matter." 

Had frank disclosure of interest in Ameri- 
can Marconi shares been made on October n, 
the nation would have looked less unkindly 
upon the transaction. Sir Rufus Isaacs, in his 
speech on the June 18, 1913, referred to this. 
He admitted : 

"I think that the course that we took on 
October n was a mistaken course. I think 
the House is entitled, and when I say the 

American Marconis and After 151 

House I am not referring to any party or 
section of a party, I think that all members 
of the House are entitled to get from each 
other, not only from Ministers, but from each 
other as members of the House of Commons, 
a frank statement in answer to any question 
that may be raised in the House. And I say 
to the House as a whole, dealing with this 
matter, that the course which we pursued, and 
which I will explain in a moment in more 
detail, was a course which I think now, and 
by the light of all that has happened, was a 
mistaken one." 

But the suppression of the fact that they 
were interested in American Marconis did not 
end with the House of Commons. The Select 
Committee had been appointed, and neither 
Sir Rufus Isaacs nor Mr. George communi- 
cated the actual facts to the Chairman of that 
Committee, although they did take into their 
confidence two of the most partisan members 
of that body. 

Nor did they even tell their own Prime 
Minister until January of the present year. 
Then on March 19, 1913, the action for libel 
against the Matin newspaper was tried. We 
were told that the main object for which this 
suit was brought was to enable Ministers to 
explain exactly how matters stood. And again 
there was suppression of facts. Nothing what- 

152 The Real Lloyd George 

ever was said of the later transactions by Mr. 
Lloyd George in respect of the 3000 shares 
bought by him on May 22, or of his sale of the 
1000 on April 20. 

One is left to wonder as to whether the 
facts would ever have come out at all 
had it not been for the production of the 
books of the stockbroker who had done the 
business. The transactions themselves were 
gravely objectionable, but we are compelled 
to infer from the manner in which they 
were kept secret that the persons who 
entered into the speculations must themselves 
have realised how very objectionable they 

These, then, very briefly are the facts of the 
Marconi case as at present they are known. 
Whether there are more revelations to come, 
only the future can tell. The public will itself 
pass judgment on the Ministers involved. If 
the public judges Mr. George by the standards 
which he himself set up, he will be condemned 

Let us refer to the terms of the amendment 
to the Address which Mr. George moved on 
December 10, 1900 (page 53). On that occa- 
sion Mr. George attempted the downfall of 
Mr. Chamberlain, and failed contemptibly. 
If, however, he is himself judged by the very 
requirements for public purity which he him- 

American Marconis and After 153 

self pronounced to be necessary, he will be 
condemned out of hand. 

From another standpoint his case is nau- 
seating. For years he has never weaned in 
denouncing unearned increment. His great 
gospel is that men should live on what they 
earn, and that land which appreciates in value 
should be specially taxed by the State to the 
extent of that increased value. But if there 
be unearned increment in land, there is un- 
earned increment in other forms of property. 
Indeed, Mr. Asquith laid stress on this when, 
on June 24, 1909, he declared that : 

" It is to some extent a fact that there is 
an element of unearned value in other forms 
of property besides land. . . . That is an 
argument in favour of taking it in other cases 
also. His [the Chancellor's] opponents have 
made him a present of a suggestion which 
may possibly fructify." 

Seemingly, Mr. George has got tired of 
taxing other people's unearned increment, 
and is anxious to acquire a little for himself 
by means of speculation ; but if unearned 
increment be bad in other people, it is also 
bad in Mr. George. What, we wonder, will 
Mr. George have to say on the subject when 
he takes the platform. His long-promised 
land campaign can be nothing but an attack 
on unearned increment. Will he still pursue 

154 The Real Lloyd George 

it ? In his own deal he has lost : some stock- 
broker has acquired unearned increment in 
respect of Mr. George's American Marconi 
transactions. Will Mr. George pursue that 
stockbroker with special legislation to make 
him disgorge his profit to the State ? Perhaps 
the stockbroker would retort : 

"What, supposing Mr. George had made 
a profit instead of a loss, would Mr. George 
have surrendered his profit to the State ? " 

We wonder. 



FAILURE is always costly. Someone has to pay 
for it. In business the Failure himself pays ; 
with statesmen the public. A profit and loss 
account showing what Mr. George's career has 
cost the nation would be an eye-opener. It is 
impossible of achievement, however. We can- 
not send auditors into every home in the land. 

Furthermore, in politics, cause and effect 
are difficult to trace fully. The class-war 
which opened on the political platform did 
not stop there. The class bitterness which 
Mr. George engendered in Limehouse, and 
in his later attacks on the Lords, burst into 
flame anew during our great strikes. Lesser 
leaders picked up the weapons which Mr. 
George had laid aside. 

The fact that those strikes were directly due 
to distressful conditions of hours and wages, 
and the increasing cost of living is, in itself, 
a condemnation of Mr. George as a social 
regenerator. The astounding budget had left 
the masses poorer. 

156 The Real Lloyd George 

As a man, we believe that Mr. George is 
charming. We hear that he is kindness itself, 
As a public man he is impossible. We cannot 
afford him. 

He is a great demagogue and nothing more. 
And no demagogue has ever succeeded in 
British politics. He inspires momentary con- 
fidence with rhetoric, and strangles it in office. 
He promises us an earthly paradise, and 
leaves us in the wilderness. Even in his 
speech at the Marconi Luncheon, on July i, 
1913, he returned to his old game : 

"My Right Honourable friend [Sir Rufus 
Isaacs] and I have been assailed by a hideous 
monster that sought our lives. Not by our 
own right arm, but with the help of friends, 
we have slaughtered it ; and unless I am mis- 
taken, out of the prostrate form will come some- 
thing that will sweeten the lives of millions who 
hitherto have tasted nothing but the bitterness 
and dust of the world." 

What has happened to the "rare and re- 
freshing fruit " ? Is that part of the diet of 
" bitterness and dust " ? 

Are we not getting very tired of this con- 
fidence-trick man ? 

And if Mr. George fails dismally in great 
causes, what is his record in details ? Have 
we ever known an important Minister who 
has been a tenth part as inaccurate and 

The Penalty of Failure 157 

nreliable ? Surely we have not forgotten 
ic case of the gentle Shepherd or the lease 
f Mr. Gorringe or the hundreds of other 
xposures of false facts and figures upon 
rhich bitter speeches were built. 

All these incidents stab confidence and con- 
ince us that Mr. George is unworthy of a 
enewal of trust. But there is an outstanding 
eril in Mr. George greater than any or all of 
lese. On the platform he is a democrat ; in 
fBce he is the veriest autocrat. He pleads 
or the people's will to win the people's votes, 
nd once he has got them, it is Lloyd George's 
vill and the people cease to count. 

It is not our intention to be ruled by any 
ne man in this country. Certainly not by 
Ar. Lloyd George. 

He has had great chances, and has only 
chieved an abysmal failure. And he leaves 
s to pay for it while he dreams of a new 

Let us secure our own safety in the warning 
f the Quaker proverb : 

11 If thy friend deceive thee once, 

Shame on him. 
If he deceive thee again, 

Shame on thee I n 


Amending Act, Insurance, 139 
American Marconis and after, 

and English Marconi com- 
panies, 145 

Asquith, Mr. 

On Boer war, 38 

Repudiates Mr. Lloyd- 
George, 48 

On old age pensions, 87 

On Tory party and old age 
pensions, 89 

On unearned increment, 153 

BIOGRAPHY of Mr. George (ex- 
tracts re speeches), 16 
Birmingham Trust Company, 

59, 67 
Boer War, the, i, 18 

Mr. Asquith on, 38 

Mr. George on, 40 

Budget, the People's, 3, 90 

and building trade, 99 
Business, statesmanship and, 8 

H. , on Kynoch debate, 68, 
Cardiff, Mr. George's speech at, 

Carnarvon, Mr. George's speech 

at, 113 
Chamberlain, Mr. J. 

Mr. Lloyd George on, 44, 55 

Sir E. Grey on, 46 

The Times on the attack on, 

Reply on Kynoch debate, 62 
Connection with old age pen- 
sions, 86 

Chinese slavery, political Non- 
conformity and, 71 
Chinese labour 

Poster in North Bristol, 74 
Trade Union Congress on, 74 
Mr. George on, 75 
Mr. W. Evans on, 79 
Mr. Church ill on ,80 
Lord Elgin on, 81 
Chronicle, Daily, on Mr. Cham- 
berlain and old age pen- 
sions, 86 
Churchill, Mr., on Chinese 

labour, So 
Class war, 22 
Colombo Commercial Com- 
pany, 59 

Coercion Act and licensing, 27 
Clergy Discipline Bill, 28 

DIVISION of national wealth, 


Doctors, Mr. George on, 123, 

Mr. George on free choice 
of, 129 

Mr. George's promises a 
performances, 130 

EDUCATION Act, 1902, 71 
Mr. S. Webb's views,> 

Election address, Mr. George's* 

first, 21 
Elgin on Chinese labour, Lord, 

Evans on Chinese labour, Mr. 


FRIENDLY Societies' work, iax 
Mr. George on, 122 



GEORGE, Mr. Lloyd- 
Man of emotions, I 
Effects of poverty on him, 12 
Early efforts, 14 
Extracts from Diary, 16 
Returned to Parliament, 21 
First election address, 21 
Coercion Act and licensing, 


Tithe Bill, 28 
Home Rule for Wales, 30 
Agricultural Rates Act, 31 
Obstruction in Parliament, 34 
Serves on select committee on 

old age pensions, 36 
Prince of Pro-Boers, 38 
Speeches on Boer War, 41 
Attacks on Mr. Chamberlain, 

44> S3 
Speech at Oxford, 49 

on conduct of public men, 

on Chinese labour, 75 
President of Board of Trade, 

Speech on Mr. Chamberlain 

and old age pensions, 85 
Speech at Swansea, 92 

on hen-roosts, 94 

at Limehouse, 96, 106 

at Cardiff, 101 

at Holborn Restaurant, 

on landlords, 109, 113 

at Newcastle, 114 

on doctors, 123, 124 

on sanatoria, 127 
Introduction of Insurance 

Bill, 116 

Speech on free choice of doc- 
tor, 129 

Marconi transactions, 140 
Speech in Marconi debate, 148 

on Marconi rumours, 150 

at Marconi luncheon, 156 
Failure, 155 

Giffen, Sir R., on division of 
national wealth, 101 

Gladstone, Mr., attack on Mr. 
George, 29 

Grey, Sir E. , on the attacks on 
Mr. Chamberlain, 46 

Repudiates Mr. George, 48 
On Kynoch debate, 68 
Home Rule for Wales, 30 
Hoskins & Sons, Ltd., 58 

INSURANCE Act, the National, 
io, 36 

Introduction, 116 

Mr. George on helpful criti- 
cisms, 117 

Guillotined, 119 

Unionist resolution, 119 

Position of friendly societies, 

Failure of Act, 125 

gd. for 4^?., 126 

Unionist amendments ac- 
cepted, 132 

Unionist amendments re- 
jected, 134 

Post Office contributors, 135 

Amending Act, 139 
Isaacs, Sir R. 

American Marconis, 141 

Speech in Marconi debate, 

Speech on Marconi rumours, 


Isaacs, Mr. G., and Marconi 
Company, 143 

KYNOCHS and the Boer War, 

Kynoch debate, 52 
Mr. Haldane's speech, 68 
Mr. McKenna's speech, 68 
Sir H. Campbell - Banner- 
man's speech, 68, 69 
Sir Edward Grey on, 46 
Mr. R. W. Perks on, 69 
Division, 69 

LABOUR party and Limehouse, 


failure, 27 
Landlords, Mr. George and, 32, 

109, no, in, 113 
Land taxes, 97 
Results of, 98 
Mr. Wedgwood on, too 
Limehouse speech, 96, 106 



MACALISTER, Sir D., letter to, 

Marconis and after, American, 

Marconis, sale of, 141 

Marconi contract, 143 
P.M.G. on, 146 

Marconi, telegram to Mr., 144 

Marconi companies, American 
and English, 145 

Murray and American Mar- 
conis, Lord, 141 

NEWCASTLE, speech at, 114 
Ninepence for Fourpence, 126 

OBSTRUCTION in Parliament, 


Old age pensions 
Select committee, 1899, 35 
Bill, 84 

The Star on, 86 
Mr. Asquith on, 87 
Punch on, 87 

PARLIAMENTARY beginnings of 

Mr. George, 21 
Passive resistance, 71 
Perks, Mr. R. W., on Kynoch 

motion, 69 

Personality of Mr. George, 4 
Political Nonconformity and 

Mr. George, 71 
Post Office contributors, 135 
Prince of Pro- Boers, 38 

Punch on Mr. George and old 
age pensions, 87 

ROTHSCHILD, Mr. George on, 

SANATORIA, Mr. George on, 

German, 128 
Snowden, Mr. P., on gd. for 

4d., 126 

Speeches (extracts from bio- 
graphy), 1 6 

Star, the, on Old Age Pensions 
Bill, 86 

Statesmanship and business, 8 

Swansea, Mr. George's speech 
at, 92 

TELEGRAM to Mr. Marconi, 144 
Times, on the attack on Mr. 

Chamberlain, the, 53 
Tithe Bill, 28 
Tubes, Ltd., 59 

UNIONIST resolution on Insur- 
ance Act, 119 

amendments accepted, 132 
rejected, 134 

WALES, Home Rule for, 30 
Wedgwood on land taxes, Mr. , 


Webb on Education Act, 1902, 
Mr. S.,73 

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & Co. 
at Paul's Work, Edinburgh 



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