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100 years ago: The eclipse of Liberalism

26 April 2024

April 25th, 1924.

MR. LLOYD GEORGE’s complaint that the Labour Government regards the Liberals in the House of Commons as oxen who have dragged the Labour wain for two or three years, only to be slaughtered, is a pathetic and indeed a tragic confession of impotency. In modern history there has been no political Eclipse so complete as that of Mr. Lloyd George. During the war and the Peace Conference his authority was unlimited and unchallenged. To-day he is one of the leaders of a broken and bewildered political party, and he can have little hope of a return to power. He himself protests that he will never again be allied with the Conservatives. The Labour Party scorns alliances, and if there is a certainty in politics it is that the Liberals will not again have a majority within this generation. We do not find any cause for congratulation in the passing of the Liberal Party. It has stood for certain definite political principles, with some of which we are in agreement. But whether he like it or no, the realist must accept the fact that the glory of Liberalism is departed, and that it is inevitable that the party must break into two parts, one joining Labour and the other to be absorbed by the Conservatives. Mr. Lloyd George may have a future as the associate of Lord Birkenhead and Mr. Winston Churchill, but that can only occur if the Conservative Party throws over its idealists, Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Edward Wood, Lord Eustace Percy, and the rest.

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