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The Ebb of Coalition

  • Michael Kinnear

Abstract

The Coalition did not falter because of one blow, but languished over a year and a half. Although it faced periodic troubles in its ranks from 1918 onwards, these crises were unimportant until the election scare of January 1922. From January to October, the atmosphere of constant political intrigue widened rifts between the Conservative leaders and their organisation, and this eventually toppled Lloyd George. In late 1921 and 1922 his ministry suffered setbacks which could have happened under any regime whether or not it was a coalition, but which took on added seriousness because the Conservative leaders did not communicate effectively with their followers, and thus allowed mutual trust to evaporate. Lloyd George had a strong personal following, but his party organisation was often sketchy, and this made him dependent on the Conservative machine in many constituencies. Even so, this organisational drawback counted seriously only because the Conservative leadership proved weak. There were few basic policy conflicts between the Conservatives and Coalition Liberals at this time: free trade was contentious, but most Coalition Liberals accepted limited tariffs disguised as ‘safeguarding’. A notable division on 31 July 1922 concerned duties on imported fabric gloves. The Coalition Liberals supported this tariff by 45 to 27, and even the Conservatives were divided on this question and on others. The two wings of the Coalition acted together, and although the Conservatives wanted more offices, this desire could have been settled without breaking up the Coalition.

Keywords

Servative Leader Conservative Organisation Liberal Party National Party Daily Telegraph 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Michael Kinnear 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Kinnear

There are no affiliations available

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