Saturday, 8 January 2011
If you were to stroll across Parliament Square one autumn night and look upon the statuary surrounding it,
you'd notice an imposing figure with it's obvious prominence.
The colossal statue of Winston Churchill, bathed in a purplish light and casting an enormous shadow across the lawn,
occupies it's place on the prime corner in the heart of Westminster.
Just to his right there is a more diminutive yet more deserving of a character.
Churchill may be the leader most remember but it was David Lloyd George, portrayed with arm outstretched, coattails blowing in the wind, who changed the nature of the state forever.
As an MP, Chancellor and later Prime Minister during World War I, Lloyd George embodied the concept
that economic and social change can be made manifest through government.
He oversaw the policies of old-age pension, unemployment benefit, financial support for the sick
and infirm which today remain the backbone of the modern welfare state.
His support for Women's Suffrage and his "People's Budget" of 1909 were radical departures
and key milestones in the battle for a more equal society.
He remains the bravest challenger that the acronistic House of Lords has ever known, even after
a century has passed. That fact alone, speaks volumes and is a genuine and monumental indictment on the political lethargy of the last hundred years.
John Maynard Keynes, the economist, spoke of "A half-human visitor to our age from the hag-ridden magic and enchanted woods of Celtic antiquity".
Churchill later eulogized him saying, “Those who come after will find the pillars of his life’s toil upstanding, massive and indestructible.”
It can be fairly argued that David Lloyd George led Great Britain through some of its's greatest trials and left it wiser and more compassionate than anyone before or since.