Fall of Lloyd George Essay

Submitted By Waqas -Razaq
Words: 1158
Pages: 5

The reign of Lloyd George saw a number of fluctuations. Lloyd George won overwhelmingly in 1918 as ‘the man who won the war’. How is it that he fell from power in 1922 never to return to the premiership? A multitude of problems struck both Lloyd George and his government; some of which were his own faults whilst others were political circumstances beyond his control. These problems progressively mounted so high that they obscured Lloyd George's successes and toppled him from power, ultimately helping the Conservatives engineer his downfall. This essay will assess both internal factors, such as problems as home, centred on unemployment, coupled with external factors, including the Chanak Crisis. It will be argued that the Conservatives reaped power as a result of the combined internal and external problems, all of which amounted to a loss of confidence at home, and thereby created negative public perceptions of the Liberals.
Lloyd George's post as Prime Minister was in a way doomed from the beginning. He came to power at the head of a coalition party making enemies along the way. Most notably Asquith and many other Liberal MPs people whom should have been supporters. Instead he became a prisoner of the Conservative Party; the main bulk of the coalition. Lloyd George's policies of reform and views on the Irish question were incompatible with many Conservatives, many of whom abandoned him when they came to power. This incompatibility stifled the coalition's progress. The high hopes of a "land fit for heroes" meant this lack of progress especially hurt his reputation in office. This internal factor was thereby key in helping the Conservatives engineer his downfall.
This lack of progress was also due to a general downturn in the economy: caused by WW1 and the growth of competition abroad. A policy of retrenchment was introduced after a short boom. Retrenchment did not allow the kind of reform people wanted. Lloyd George earned the anger of workers wanting reforms by refusing to nationalise mines and using heavy handed tactics dealing with a strike in Glasgow. Therefore, Lloyd George has lost the trust of key voters, many of whom turned to the Labour Party. It is evident that the combination of external factors, stemming from the War and competition abroad led to a decline in Lloyd George’s popularity, ultimately leading to his removal from office.
The ‘Geddes Axe’ is another internal factor that often put Lloyd George in a bad light. After promising amongst other things, ‘homes fit for heroes’ after the war; Lloyd George allowed this policy to come about, knowing that it cut finding for them massively. However, with the massive amounts being paid out by the government in unemployment benefits due to the slump, Geddes said that massive retrenchment of expenditure was needed. Taking this advice, the government saved itself £64 million, so was arguably successful, although highly unpopular. Widespread feeling amongst the Asquithian Liberals was that Lloyd George was only a puppet for the Conservative’s. Doing their dirty work, and taking the blame for it.
There were other reasons behind the increasing unpopularity of the Coalition among Conservatives. Once the pressure of national crisis such as had existed in 1918 was lifted, the personal dislike many Conservatives had for Lloyd George came to the surface. Baldwin had spoken of the "morally disintegrating effect of Lloyd George on all whom he had to deal with", and this was the view of many. The sale of honours had particularly repulsed many people. Lloyd George had used his powers as Prime Minister to accumulate a personal fund, by "selling" honours, the prices ranging from £10,000 for a knighthood to £40,000 or more for a peerage.
The privatisation of the coal industry was another internal instance where Lloyd George managed to draw criticism from the left and his Conservative partners. When the depression hit, the owners of the newly privatised mines protected profits by