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Lloyd George by Ian Packer (auth.)

By Ian Packer (auth.)

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Perhaps he felt he could also solve most of the outstanding political problems of the day. The coalition proposals were the first real sign that Lloyd George thought his talents should not necessarily be constrained within the existing party system, and when the proposals started to leak out in 1911 this only increased the distrust in which he was held by many senior Liberals. But he may not have seriously expected his coalition proposals to be taken up, nor indeed that the party system was obsolete- there was plenty of partisan invective from Lloyd George after 1910.

First, he consistently urged that the ultimate control of military strategy should be in the hands of politicians, not soldiers. ' 6 This seemed natural enough to him- after all, he was a politician and one with an amateur interest in strategy. During the Boer War he had followed troop manoeuvres carefully and commented in detail on the various commanders' mistakes. 7 But this was actually an extremely controversial position. Most Conservatives venerated the Army as the embodiment ofthe nation, something above politics, and hated the thought of 'mere' politicians giving orders to generals.

Under the strain, though, the pre-war political system broke asunder, destroying parties and forging new and strange alliances. The ultimate beneficiary of this was Lloyd George, who gained the premiership, something he could not have expected before 1914. But none of this was immediately apparent in August 1914. Instead, Lloyd George was thrust into the unfamiliar world of banks and interest rates. He had never given much attention to such matters before, when he was Chancellor. Charles Hobhouse claimed the whole field was 41 42 Lloyd George 'Greek to him'.

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