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100 years ago: Baldwin seeks a mandate

17 November 2023

November 16th 1923

MR. BALDWIN has the courage of his case for Protection, and dares to put it to the touch. He is taking considerable risks, the risk of worrying the country with another General Election when the present Parliament has run but a year of its course; the risk of holding the election at a time when it will gravely disturb Christmas business; the risk of holding it, also, when the glamour of an almost triumphal tour through part of the United States and Canada is upon Mr. Lloyd George, and we have hardly had time to forget the success of an exceedingly well-managed welcome home. On the other hand, Mr. Baldwin has advantages. The country will not forget that, unlike some Prime Ministers of the past, he is not going to break a pledge given to the country. There was to be no following of a policy of Protection without a fresh appeal to the country; the time has come, in Mr. Baldwin’s opinion, for that policy to be adopted, and the appeal will be made. The frank honesty of the course taken will mitigate the obvious risk. Nor has the Government to face a united Liberalism. It is true that a working arrangement has been made to fight on the common ground of adherence to Free Trade, but working arrangements are one thing and organic unity quite another. The greatest advantage to the Government is one which it retains. The country has not yet had time to forget what a Government of adventurers brought to it, and what it did not bring. It believes that the men who compose the present Government are men of honour and of principle, and are not self-seeking. And, unless we are greatly mistaken, it will give them their chance.

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