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Cymdeithas Lloyd George - Lloyd George Society

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Is Gordon Brown the new Lloyd George?

June 23, 2009 7:36 PM

Lloyd George displays his speechmaking skills

A recent article in the Financial Times by historian Peter Clarke has drawn parallels between our current prime minister and David Lloyd George.

Not in comparing their legislative legacy, in which LG surely outstrips the current occupant of number 10 Downing Street; nor in the dishonesty of Labour politicians on Brown's watch milking the taxpayer for bogus or exaggerated expenses compared to Lloyd George's role in the Marconi scandal and the sale of honours. Rather, Clarke presents Brown as presiding over a Labour party prone to the same sorts of political pressures which LG's Liberals underwent during the 1918-1922 government and which eventually led to their being replaced as the main party of the left by Labour.

Why, argues Clarke, should the present-day Labour Party be immune from a similar fate? Recent elections show how small a shift it would take to put the Liberal Democrats ahead of Labour, which might look in vain to rally the solid working-class support that now looks so last-century. According to Clarke, Gordon Brown should be looking over his shoulder at the Lib Dems. It would not be the first time that the whirligig of time brought in its revenges.

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