Liberal Social Policy, 1905–14

  • Derek Fraser


When Balfour resigned as Conservative Prime Minister in December 1905 it was partly on the expectation that a weak and disunited Liberal Party would fragment in office and therefore lose the next election. In fact the sensible Scottish Liberal leader Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was able by firm leadership to outgun the potential dissidents of the ‘aristocratic’ wing of his party (Asquith, Grey and Haldane), and in the event all three served in his very powerful Cabinet which on its radical wing included the promising figure of Lloyd George at the Board of Trade and the former trade union leader John Burns at the Local Government Board. Though Burns himself no longer had the ‘fire in his belly’ which had motivated the dockers’ leader of 1889, his appointment was of enormous significance since he was the first working man to achieve Cabinet rank. He personally achieved little in his eight years in this post, but his very presence next to ‘marquises and belted knights’ symbolised a new democratic age and concern for the masses.


Unemployment Insurance Royal Commission Labour Party State Pension Free School Meal 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    Quoted by A. Wilson and G. S. Mackay, Old Age Pensions (1941) p. 28.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    W. George, My Brother and I (1958) p. 220.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    B. Webb, Our Partnership (1948) p. 322.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Evidence of Dr Fuller, quoted in M. Cole, Beatrice Webb (1945) p. 97.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    Churchill to H. Llewellyn Smith, ‘Notes on Malingering’, 6 June 1909, Beveridge Papers, D.026.Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    C. Petrie, The Life and Letters of the Right Hon. Sir Austen Chamberlain (1939) 1277.Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    R. S. Churchill, Winston S. Churchill, II (1967) 263.Google Scholar
  8. 19.
    E. Hughes, Keir Hardie (1956) p. 263.Google Scholar
  9. 20.
    R. S. Churchill, Winston S. Churchill: Companion, II, pt z (1969) p. 863.Google Scholar
  10. 21.
    H. Spender, Contemporary Review, Jan 1909, quoted by B. B. Gilbert, The Evolution of National Insurance in Great Britain (1966) p. 257.Google Scholar
  11. 34.
    A. Marwick, Britain in the Century of Total War (1968) P. 33.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Derek Fraser 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek Fraser
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BradfordUK

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