August 26, 2010

Coalition catechism

Handbill attacking Lloyd George

Labour Party handbill attacking David Lloyd George’s coalition government

The formation of a coalition government in May 2010 was a rare but not unprecedented event in British history since 1900.  And criticism of such arrangements from those not involved in them is nothing new either.

Lloyd-George's coalition was similar to the current one in that the Conservatives were easily the largest party, but it differed in that the leader and main driving force was a Liberal.  This handbill is an attempt to show the hollowness of his pledge during the 1918 general election campaign to make Britain a land “fit for heroes to live in”.   It is a litany of alleged broken promises and hypocrisy, including an accusation that ministers were not practising what they preached on the need for national economy.   The coalition had been swept back into power following its successful conduct of World War I,  but in peacetime the differences between the two parties, as well as the actions and personality of Lloyd George himself, led to the Conservatives leaving the coalition in 1922. 

From the papers in the Modern Records Centre of Reg Groves (1908-1988), journalist and socialist.  Document reference MSS.172/LA/1/8 (link to on-line catalogue).

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