100 years ago: Lloyd George and class
Posted: 31 Aug 2011 @ 00:00
September 1st, 1911.
IT IS very surprising how sensitive to criticism Mr Lloyd George shows himself to be. A day or two ago, at the stone-laying of a Baptist chapel near Neath, he complained that he had been misrepresented as setting class against class in his speeches at Limehouse and Newcastle. He was merely drawing attention, he explained, to the glaring inequalities in our social life. If this was all that he meant, we have no quarrel with him. We entirely agree with him, in fact; but incidentally we might remark that many of the right hon. gentleman’s professed admirers must in their hearts contrast with a feeling akin to envy their own small share in the good things of this life with his abundance, as revealed by the newspaper account of his week-ends in country houses, his motor-drives, his golf and other diversions, and his enjoyment of a salary ten times in excess of what Mr John Burns has defined as the reasonable maximum for any man. But if Mr Lloyd George meant well at Limehouse, he failed conspicuously in his manner of expressing his meaning. The way in which his words were understood and the immediate and the later consequences of his utterance are sufficient proof. Class feeling has been intensely embittered within the last year or two, and this is the period in which certain members of the Cabinet have ostentatiously played the demagogue’s part. If Mr Lloyd George would have us believe in his universal goodwill, we wish he would cultivate a more genial manner of conveying it.