We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Not very liberal

(Apart from the free trade bit)

This is an ad for the Liberal Party going into the 1918 General Election. Note that the Liberal Party split during the First World War with some following Lloyd George and others continuing to follow Asquith. This ad is for the Asquith Liberals. Also note this is not an ideological division; Lloyd George’s Coalition Liberals are standing on much the same platform. Also, also note that the statist rot set in well before the First World War.

In December 1918, this Liberal Party was more or less wiped out with Asquith losing his seat. In subsequent elections the general Liberal vote collapsed even further until by the 1950s the by-then re-unified party had only a handful of MPs.

The Times 5 December 1918 p5

14 comments to Not very liberal

  • Peter Melia

    I would imagine that any party today campaigning on most of those items would win hsndsomely!

  • staghounds

    This A.P. Herbert story is from 1931, but applies to the ’18 election too- and to all those since.

    http://staghounds.blogspot.com/2004/10/debate-acomin.html

  • Hulloporro

    Can anyone clarify what “tied members” means?

  • Can anyone clarify what “tied members” means?

    This was back when fashionable society preferred cravats, so they dreaded the appearance of neckties in their sacred halls. 😀

  • Mr Ed

    Hulloporro,

    I am taking a wild stab here and guessing that it is making an analogy of a ‘tied’ Public House (pub) that has to buy its beer from a particular brewery, so it’s a roundabout way of alleging that others are in hock to vested interests other than their voters.

    But Cayleygraph points to the very class-conscious times.

    And you can see how deep the roots of current political thought go.

  • In a two-party system, such as we and the US have, it is usually hard for a new party to break through. Labour could replace the liberals only because Lloyd-George destroyed the liberal party by becoming too corrupt to endure yet too embedded to remove. The 1918 election was the beginning of the process – and its outcome ensured the Liberals would be competing hard for labour voters – and so be less liberal. (That said, I notice that freedom of speech is endorsed. Chance’d be a fine thing as regards today’s LibDems.)

    The Guardian (the Manchester Guardian as it then was) took longer to desert its principles. In the 30s, being a generally liberal paper at a time when that required little prostitution of the truth to the needs of supporting liberal party power because the liberal party had relatively little power, it managed a respectable standard of reporting on Hitler and Stalin alike. Only later did it become a generally Labour paper and lower its standards.

  • Can anyone clarify what “tied members” means? (Hulloporro, December 7, 2018 at 2:27 pm)

    Is it by any chance a reference to the ‘coupons’ that the coalition government (the rival Liberal faction, in electoral alliance with the Tories) issued to its MPs to certify to the electorate that they were trusted supporters of the government that had just won the war a month earlier, and so had prestige. Some Tory MPs and candidates refused the coupon by choice, but IIUC the Asquith liberals had no coupon offered to them whereas all the Lloyd-George Liberal MPs had a coupon. Is it that the Asquith Liberals did not want to say, ‘Vote for Liberals (ours) not for Liberals (theirs)’ and so raged against couponed (Liberal) MPs who were ‘tied’ with couponed Tory MPs – or just against couponed Tory MPs whom coalition Liberals were supposed to tolerate?

    I do not know this. It is merely a guess.

  • Gene

    Re Niall’s comment about the endorsement of free speech: I note the phrase “Abolition of all unnecessary restrictions on liberty of person, of speech, and of the press.” You could drive a very large truck through that loophole.

  • Patrick Crozier (Twickenham)

    They are probably referring to the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA), passed on the outbreak of war which led to blanket bans of all sorts of things and I think was still largely in force.

  • “Abolition of all unnecessary restrictions on liberty of person, of speech, and of the press.” You could drive a very large truck through that loophole. (Gene, December 7, 2018 at 7:09 pm)

    True, but their message does imply they will abolish some free speech restrictions, and does not go on to say “while adding many other necessary ones”, so it’s an improvement on today’s LibDems.

    I believe Patrick is correct that the main point was to prevent any wartime restrictions from continuing in peacetime – which is a valid liberal (old-meaning) position.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Niall:

    Labour could replace the liberals only because Lloyd-George destroyed the liberal party by becoming too corrupt to endure yet too embedded to remove. The 1918 election was the beginning of the process – and its outcome ensured the Liberals would be competing hard for labour voters – and so be less liberal.

    I have trouble reconciling the 1st sentence with the 2nd:
    if Liberal voters had remained liberal, and were scared away only by corruption, then the best way to get them back would seem to be cracking down on corruption while remaining liberal.

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly Patrick this, this list of wild government spending promises, is what “Liberalism” had become by 1918 – indeed even in the 18890s (after Gladstone was pushed out) this is what “Liberalism” was – with such people as Harcourt (the “Liberal” Chancellor) openly saying “we are all socialists now” and pushing higher taxes and more government spending (yes – even in the 1890s).

    Meanwhile in the United States the Republican “reactionaries” in the Senate were rejecting the madness of the “League of Nations” and suggesting a defensive peacetime alliance with Britain and France to contain Germany (that fool Woodrow Wilson rejected the Senate proposal).

    And in 1920 Warren Harding ran on a ticket of dramatically CUTTING taxes and government spending – and he DELIVED, he really did dramatically cut taxes and government spending (and regulations) after he came into office in the middle of 1921 – in the teeth of the post World War One Credit Bubble bust. This is the real reason that the CLASSICAL Liberal Warren Harding is hated by the (Marxist and fake “liberal” dominated) education system. Corruption in the Harding Administration was actually less severe than it was in the Administrations of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman – but one would not know that from the school and college “history books”. And it was Warren Harding who released the political prisoners of Woodrow Wilson (including the socialists) and denounced lynching and the KKK in such harsh terms that the Democrats claimed that Warren Harding must secretly be part black.

    The Republican Party of the 1920s stood for Civil Liberties, lower taxes, and less government spending – it was the party of Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. And it was denounced as “Reactionary” by David Lloyd-George style (and worse – for in America even socialist supporters of the Soviet Union, such as the founders of the ACLU, were calling themselves “liberals” in the 1920s) “liberals” who, like the Economist magazine to day, use the WORDS “liberty” and “freedom” a lot, but really stand for EVER BIGGER GOVERNMENT.

  • Paul Marks

    Note how the idea of am “Imperial Parliament” has been perverted by the David Lloyd-George “Liberals” – the idea had been to create a Parliament representing all the Dominions (Australia, Canada, New Zealand….) in order to keep the Empire from falling apart over time (which far sighted people could see the danger of, long before 1914) and to establish Imperial Free Trade (even in the 19th century colonies in Australia were putting tariffs on British goods – for example the state of Victoria was infamous for it).

    None of this is mentioned in the document that Patrick kindly shows us – instead an “Imperial Parliament” is just to cover the British Isles, with vile assemblies in Scotland, Wales and Ireland imposing ADDITIONAL regulations and other burdens (just as the horrible “Scottish government” has done in Scotland in our own time – ruining Scots Law and Scots education, once both better than English).

    Still at least there is no “regionalism” – there is (the Liberal Party proposes) to be an ENGLISH Parliament – not assemblies for each English “region” – hard to see the Economist magazine style “liberals” supporting an English Parliament today.

    What “region” is my home town of Kettering in? “The East Midlands” – I see, so we have close ties to the “regional capital” of Nottingham? Pull the other one – it has got bells on.

    “Regionalism” is just a “liberal” conspiracy to destroy England – part of a wider “liberal” conspiracy to destroy the United Kingdom and put us for ever under the rule of the new Empire the EUROPEAN UNION (itself intended to be part of a World Government – the “liberal” dream of Economist magazine totalitarians – a vision of ever bigger government joined-at-the-hip with banks and other government supported mega corporations).

  • Mark Green

    At least now I know the etymology of “last ditch”. Noice.

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