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100 years ago: Lloyd George and class

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.

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