The Plastic Hippo

September 22, 2012

Lloyd George knew my father

Filed under: History,Politics — theplastichippo @ 1:13 am

Father knew Lloyd George
Today, Brighton welcomes the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference with tight security in place courtesy of Sussex Police. This time, the ring of steel is in place around the venue not to keep protesters out, but to keep Nick Clegg in.

With grass root Liberal Democrat activists complaining of verbal abuse out on the stump and having leaflets thrown back in their faces, Clegg is not the first Liberal luminary to face the ire of his party. As the 19th century turned into the 20th century, David Lloyd George split the party with his principled and vocal opposition to the Second Boer War. His argument was based on the morality, legality and cost of the colonialist adventure. Sound familiar? Lloyd George went on to unite the party and became what is considered to be one of this countries` greatest Prime Ministers. It might worth comparing Lloyd George and Nick Clegg and consider what these two great men have in common.

Lloyd George reunited the Liberals by opposing the government`s Education Act which, incidentally made him popular with voters. Clegg pledged to scrap tuition fees and we all know what happened to that particular promise. Clegg voted with the government to privatise education and scrap ESA and Surestart. The big Liberal Democrat idea of the Pupil Premium, one of the few trinkets he brought to the cabinet table, has just this week been proved to be completely ineffectual and has made no difference to disadvantaged children.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lloyd George introduced the “People`s Budget” in 1909 which introduced state support for sick and disabled people. This support would be financed by taxation on land and incomes and duty on tobacco and alcohol. The budget was initially blocked by Conservative peers in the House of Lords (sound familiar?) but elections in 1910 saw the budget approved. In 1911, Lloyd George introduced both the National Insurance Act, the Unemployment Insurance Act and widened the availability of old age pensions. In so doing laid the foundations for the creation of a welfare state. Clegg has voted with the government to dismantle the welfare state by allowing corporate vultures like Virgin, Serco and ATOS to profit by not providing an adequate service to sick and disabled people. Clegg also introduced the Youth Contract which has directly led to Workfare, you know, the scheme that allows big companies to make staff redundant and replace them with free labour.

Contrition is a rare thing in politics and it will be interesting to hear if Nick Clegg is prepared to apologise to conference for making the Liberal Democrats unelectable and for consigning the party to oblivion. His toe-curling apology over tuition fees might by viewed as brave by some activists, embarrassing by others and confirmation to the electorate that he will be offered a safe Tory seat in the home counties wearing a blue rosette. Some wag could autotune apologies over broken promises on VAT, the NHS and opposition to replacing Trident. He could be joined on a compilation charity CD entitled “Apology” by David Laws, Mark Oaten, Chris Huhne and John Hemming. Sadly, Lembit Opik is busy touring with his band in Eastern Europe.

For those interested, this is what Brighton has to offer:
Sarah Teather comes out of hiding at 14-50 to talk about education. Don`t worry, it won`t take long.
Nick Clegg will take a Q and A at 15-05. A must see before his tour of Berkshire constituencies.
Vince Cable does his funny turn at 12-20.
Danny Alexander will squeak and look confused at 12-20. As an added bonus there is an emergency debate at 14-20. The subject of which is yet to be announced.
Another intriguing emergency debate at 09-45 and then the big one. At 14-00 Nick Clegg will give a rousing speech to close the conference providing he survives the emergency debates.

For all their similarities, there is a major difference between David Lloyd George and Nick Clegg. Lloyd George may have profited from insider dealing and sold honours for cash, but he would never, ever, ever have been so stupid to allow himself to take the blame for spiteful, divisive and downright malicious Tory policies. Clegg claims to be the controlling influence over the slash and burn profiteering unleashed by Cameron and his well off chums but in reality the carnage continues unchecked and everybody is blaming the Liberal Democrats rather than the public school elite. Demanding electoral reform and reform of the House of Lords, Clegg has achieved precisely nothing apart from public distain and ridicule. The nation might be laughing at the Liberal Democrats but there is one man who laughing the loudest.

David Cameron.

1 Comment »

  1. Hippo

    You are, as always, right on the money.

    The Clegg Legacy will go down in Liberal history as the most stupid and crass political judgement since a friend of mine decribed Alec Douglas Home a a ‘f****** nice bloke’.

    Only Clegg could have been so stupid as to have believed anything that Cameron said. Even the diminishing number of people who now take the trouble to vote thought that he was talking from his sphincter.

    Clegg does, however bear some non-physical resemblance to his lauded Liberal predessor. Lloyd George, in order to once again save the Nation, decided to flog off peerages for profit, abandon any principles of economic, social and environmental policy and suck up to the Tories.

    Lest the younger people amongst us forget, the outcome of that particular wheeze included the Great Depression, World War 2 and the obliteration of the Liberal Party.

    Never mind, here comes Vince Cable.

    In true Churcillian mode, he will spend the next 5 years on the front Bench of whatever party he chooses to join. He will explain, in his usual measured and quietly irritated tones, that he alway thought that a univerity education should be reserved for people, who, like him, had to sweat for their money. He will go on to explain that times are hard and that tough and principled decisions are needed. These measures will no doubt include huge cuts in public spending (except for defence), a ramp up of privatisation and a clamp down on aberrant behaviour of any type, except for multi-national companies.

    These outfits, will, of course, remain free to do as they see fit. How else will GBUK retain its AAA credit rating and avoid the embarrassment of having to explain to Obama that the fundamental interests of Great Britain are not intrinsically linked to the USA and its colossal defence expediture?

    As a man who was a former senior economist for a global oil company that has done its absolute best to avoid UK tax, exploit local economies and disregard human rights and who obtained a series of stellar jobs by dint of a first class and mostly free free university education, who better to grip the nations tiller?

    Step forward the Secretary of State for whatever it is to do with business, enterprise and double dip recession (BA failed).

    After all, Vinc Cable is cast in the DLG mould – a former socialist, paternal, patronising, politically unprincipalled, personally vindicitive, socially mobile and bereft of any sort of integrity. Rather like Clegg, but with less Coalition baggage, thanks to his anti-Murdoch line and his antipathy towards the lunatic that is Ian Duncan-Smith.

    Somewhere I hear bells ringing, I hope.

    The Realist


    Comment by The Realist — September 22, 2012 @ 4:40 am | Reply

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