The question will be asked whether five hundred men, ordinary men, chosen accidentally from among the unemployed, should override the judgment of millions of people who are engaged in the industry which makes the wealth of the country.
- Mr. Chamberlain is right in so far as he says that things are not well in this country. We cannot feed the hungry with statistics of national prosperity, or stop the pangs of famine by reciting to a man the prodigious number of cheques that pass through the clearing-house. We must therefore propose something better than Mr. Chamberlain.
- Speech in the House of Commons (6 January 1904)
- The House of Lords is not the watchdog of the constitution; it is Mr Balfour’s poodle. It fetches and carries for him. It barks for him. It bites anyone that he sets it on to.
- Speech in the House of Commons (21 December 1908)
- This, Mr. Emmot, is a war Budget. It is for raising money to wage implacable warfare against poverty and squalidness. I cannot help hoping and believing that before this generation has passed away, we shall have advanced a great step towards that good time, when poverty, and the wretchedness and human degradation which always follows in its camp, will be as remote to the people of this country as the wolves which once infested its forests.
- Budget speech (29 April 1909)
The correspondents don't write and the censorship wouldn't pass the truth. What they do send is not the war, but just a pretty picture of the war with everybody doing gallant deeds. The thing is horrible and beyond human nature to bear and I feel I can't go on with this bloody business.
- The Landlord is a gentleman … who does not earn his wealth. He has a host of agents and clerks that receive for him. He does not even take the trouble to spend his wealth. He has a host of people around him to do the actual spending. He never sees it until he comes to enjoy it. His sole function, his chief pride, is the stately consumption of wealth produced by others.
- A fully equipped Duke costs as much to keep up as two Dreadnoughts, and Dukes are just as great a terror, and they last longer.
At eleven o’clock this morning came to an end the cruellest and most terrible War that has ever scourged mankind. I hope we may say that thus, this fateful morning, came to an end all wars.
- The question will be asked whether five hundred men, ordinary men, chosen accidentally from among the unemployed, should override the judgment of millions of people who are engaged in the industry which makes the wealth of the country.
- On the House of Lords, speech in Newcastle (9 October 1909)
- Who ordained that a few should have the land of Britain as a perquisite; who made ten thousand people owners of the soil and the rest of us trespassers in the land of our birth?
- Speech in Newcastle (9 October 1909)
Liberty has restraints but no frontiers.
- Four spectres haunt the Poor — Old Age, Accident, Sickness and Unemployment. We are going to exorcise them. We are going to drive hunger from the hearth. We mean to banish the workhouse from the horizon of every workman in the land.
- Personally I am a sincere advocate of all means which would lead to the settlement of international disputes by methods such as those which civilization has so successfully set up for the adjustment of differences between individuals.
But I am also bound to say this — that I believe it is essential in the highest interests, not merely of this country, but of the world, that Britain should at all hazards maintain her place and her prestige amongst the Great Powers of the world. Her potent influence has many a time been in the past, and may yet be in the future, invaluable to the cause of human liberty. It has more than once in the past redeemed Continental nations, who are sometimes too apt to forget that service, from overwhelming disaster and even from national extinction. I would make great sacrifices to preserve peace. I conceive that nothing would justify a disturbance of international good will except questions of the gravest national moment. But if a situation were to be forced upon us in which peace could only be preserved by the surrender of the great and beneficent position Britain has won by centuries of heroism and achievement, by allowing Britain to be treated where her interests were vitally affected as if she were of no account in the Cabinet of nations, then I say emphatically that peace at that price would be a humiliation intolerable for a great country like ours to endure.
- Speech at Mansion House (21 July 1911), quoted in The Times (22 July 1911), p. 7
- There are always clouds in the international sky. You never get a perfectly blue sky in foreign affairs. And there are clouds even now. But we feel confident that the common sense, the patience, the good-will, the forbearance which enabled us to solve greater and more difficult and more urgent problems last year will enable us to pull through these difficulties at the present moment.
- Speech at the City of London (17 July 1914), quoted in The Times (18 July 1914), p. 10
- The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham said, in future what are you going to tax when you will want more money? He also not merely assumed but stated that you could not depend upon any economy in armaments. I think that is not so. I think he will find that next year there will be substantial economy without interfering in the slightest degree with the efficiency of the Navy. The expenditure of the last few years has been very largely for the purpose of meeting what is recognised to be a temporary emergency...I think it is a very serious thing for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, who is a man of considerable influence in the councils of a great Party which shares the responsibilities for the Government of this Empire, to assume that this expenditure on armaments is going on, and that there is not likely to be a stop to it...It is very difficult for one nation to arrest this very terrible development. You cannot do it. You cannot when other nations are spending huge sums of money which are not merely weapons of defence, but are equally weapons of attack. I realise that, but the encouraging symptom which I observe is that the movement against it is a cosmopolitan one and an international one. Whether it will bear fruit this year or next year, that I am not sure of, but I am certain that it will come. I can see signs, distinct signs, of reaction throughout the world. Take a neighbour of ours. Our relations are very much better than they were a few years ago. There is none of that snarling which we used to see, more especially in the Press of those two great, I will not say rival nations, but two great Empires. The feeling is better altogether between them. They begin to realise they can co-operate for common ends, and that the points of co-operation are greater and more numerous and more important than the points of possible controversy.
- The stern hand of fate has scourged us to an elevation where we can see the great everlasting things which matter for a nation — the great peaks we had forgotten, of Honor, Duty, Patriotism, and clad in glittering white, the great pinnacle of Sacrifice pointing like a rugged finger to Heaven.
- Speech, Queen's Hall, London (19 September 1914)
- What are ten, twenty, or thirty millions when the British Empire is at stake? This is an artillery war. We must have every gun we can lay hands upon.
- Lord Riddell's diary entry (13 October 1914), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908-1923 (London: The Athlone Press, 1986), p. 92
- The British soldier is a good sportsman. He enlisted in this war in a sporting spirit—in the best sense of that term. He went in to see fair play to a small nation trampled upon by a bully. He is fighting for fair play. He has fought as a good sportsman. By the thousands he has died a goods sportsman. He has never asked anything more than a sporting chance. He has not always had that. When he couldn't get it, he didn’t quit. He played the game. He didn’t squeal, and he has certainly never asked anyone to squeal for him. Under the circumstances the British, now that the fortunes of the game have turned a bit, are not disposed to stop because of the squealing done by Germans or done for Germans by probably well-meaning but misguided sympathizers and humanitarians...During these months when it seemed the finish of the British Army might come quickly, Germany elected to make this a fight to a finish with England. The British soldier was ridiculed and held in contempt. Now we intend to see that Germany has her way. The fight must be to a finish—to a knock-out.
- Interview with Roy Howard of the United Press of America (28 September 1916), quoted in The Times (29 September 1916), p. 7
- Any intervention now would be a triumph for Germany! A military triumph! A war triumph! Intervention would have been for us a military disaster. Has the Secretary of State for War no right to express an opinion upon a thing which would be a military disaster? That is what I did, and I do not withdraw a single syllable. It was essential. I could tell the hon. Member how timely it was. I can tell the hon. Member it was not merely the expression of my own opinion, but the expression of the opinion of the Cabinet, of the War Committee, and of our military advisers. It was the opinion of every ally. I can understand men who conscientiously object to all wars. I can understand men who say you will never redeem humanity except by passive endurance of every evil. I can understand men, even—although I do not appreciate the strength of their arguments—who say they do not approve of this particular war. That is not my view, but I can understand it, and it requires courage to say so. But what I cannot understand, what I cannot appreciate, what I cannot respect, is when men preface their speeches by saying they believe in the war, they believe in its origin, they believe in its objects and its cause, and during the time the enemy were in the ascendant never said a word about peace; but the moment our gallant troops are climbing through endurance and suffering up the path of ascendancy begin to howl with the enemy.
- He won't fight the Germans but he will fight for Office.
- His opinion of Asquith's attempts to stay in power during the political crisis that ousted him from the premiership, quoted in Frances Stevenson's diary entry (5 December 1916), A. J. P. Taylor (ed.), Lloyd George: A Diary (London: Hutchinson, 1971), p. 133
- Haig does not care how many men he loses. He just squanders the lives of these boys. I mean to save some of them in the future. He seems to think they are his property. I am their trustee. I will never let him rest. I will raise the subject again & again until I nag him out of it—until he knows that as soon as the casualty lists get large he will get nothing but black looks and scowls and awkward questions...I should have backed Nievelle against Haig. Nievelle has proved himself to be a Man at Verdun; & when you get a Man against one who has not proved himself, why, you back the Man!
- Frances Stevenson's diary entry (15 January 1917), A. J. P. Taylor (ed.), Lloyd George: A Diary (London: Hutchinson, 1971), p. 139
- Do these things for the sake of your country during the war. Do them for the sake of your country after the war. When the smoke of this great conflict has been dissolved in the atmosphere we breathe there will reappear a new Britain. It will be the old country still, but it will be a new country. Its commerce will be new, its trade will be new, its industries will be new. There will be new conditions of life and of toil, for capital and for labour alike, and there will be new relations between both of them and for ever. (Cheers.) But there will be new ideas, there will be a new outlook, there will be a new character in the land. The men and women of this country will be burnt into fine building material for the new Britain in the fiery kilns of the war. It will not merely be the millions of men who, please God! will come back from the battlefield to enjoy the victory which they have won by their bravery—a finer foundation I would not want for the new country, but it will not be merely that—the Britain that is to be will depend also upon what will be done now by the many more millions who remain at home. There are rare epochs in the history of the world when in a few raging years the character, the destiny, of the whole race is determined for unknown ages. This is one. The winter wheat is being sown. It is better, it is surer, it is more bountiful in its harvest than when it is sown in the soft spring time. There are many storms to pass through, there are many frosts to endure, before the land brings forth its green promise. But let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. (Loud cheers.)
- Speech in his constituency of Carnavon Boroughs (3 February 1917), quoted in The Times (5 February 1917), p. 12
- [Proportional representation is a] device for defeating democracy, the principle of which was that the majority should rule, and for bringing faddists of all kinds into Parliament, and establishing groups and disintegrating parties.
- In a private conversation, as quoted by C. P. Scott in his diary (3 April 1917), quoted in Trevor Wilson (ed.), The Political Diaries of C. P. Scott, 1911-1928 (London: Collins, 1970), p. 274
- I listened last night, at a dinner given to Philip Gibbs on his return from the front, to the most impressive and moving description from him of what the war really means, that I have heard. Even an audience of hardened politicians and journalists were strongly affected. If people really knew, the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don't know, and can't know. The correspondents don't write and the censorship wouldn't pass the truth. What they do send is not the war, but just a pretty picture of the war with everybody doing gallant deeds. The thing is horrible and beyond human nature to bear and I feel I can't go on with this bloody business.
- In a private conversation, as quoted by C. P. Scott in his diary (27 December 1917)
- The statistics given me by Sir Auckland Geddes are most disquieting. They show that the physique of the people of this country is far from what it should be, particularly in the agricultural districts where the inhabitants should be the strongest. That is due to low wages, malnutrition and and housing. It will have to be put right after the war. I have always stood during the whole of my life for the under-dog. I have not changed, and am going still to fight his battle.
- Lord Riddell's diary entry (13/14 August 1918), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908-1923 (London: The Athlone Press, 1986), p. 233
- Wilson is adopting a dangerous line. He wants to pose as the great arbiter of the war. His Fourteen Points are very dangerous. He speaks of the freedom of the seas. That would involve the abolition of the right of search and seizure, and the blockade. We shall not agree to that. Such a change would not suit this country. Wilson does not see that by laying down terms without consulting the Allies, he is making their position very difficult. He had no right to reply to the German Note without consultation, and I insisted upon a cablegram being sent to him. The position is very disturbing.
- Lord Riddell's diary entry (10 October 1918), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908-1923 (London: The Athlone Press, 1986), p. 240
- Great Britain would spend her last guinea to keep a navy superior to that of the United States or any other power.
- Colonel Edward House's diary entry (4 November 1918), quoted in Charles Seymour (ed.), The Intimate Papers of Colonel House. Volume IV (Boston, 1928), p. 180
The finest eloquence is that which gets things done; the worst is that which delays them.
- At eleven o’clock this morning came to an end the cruellest and most terrible War that has ever scourged mankind. I hope we may say that thus, this fateful morning, came to an end all wars.
- Speech in the House of Commons (11 November 1918)
- Diplomats were invented simply to waste time.
- What is our task? To make Britain a fit country for heroes to live in.
- Speech in Wolverhampton (24 November 1918)
- The finest eloquence is that which gets things done; the worst is that which delays them.
- Speech at the Paris Peace Conference (January 1919)
- I am making a good fight for the old country & there is no one but me who could do it.
- Frances Stevenson's diary entry (11 March 1919), A. J. P. Taylor (ed.), Lloyd George: A Diary (London: Hutchinson, 1971), p. 171
- We must make, if we can, an enduring peace. That is why I feel so strongly regarding the proposal to hand over two million Germans to the Poles, who are an inferior people so far as concerns the experience and capacity for government. We do not want to create another Alsace-Lorraine.
- Lord Riddell's diary entry (28 March 1919), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908-1923 (London: The Athlone Press, 1986), p. 262
- The truth is that we have got our way. We have got most of the things we set out to get. If you had told the British people twelve months ago that they would have secured what they have, they would have laughed you to scorn. The German Navy has been handed over; the German mercantile shipping has been handed over, and the German colonies have been given up. One of our chief trade competitors has been most seriously crippled and our Allies are about to become her biggest creditors. That is no small achievement. In addition, we have destroyed the menace to our Indian possessions.
- Lord Riddell's diary entry (30 March 1919), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908-1923 (London: The Athlone Press, 1986), p. 263
- I had to tell him quite plainly that the Belgians had lost only 16,000 men in the war, and that, when all was said, Belgium had not made greater sacrifices than Great Britain. The truth is that we are always called upon to foot the bill. When anything has to be done it is "Old England" that has to do it. If the Rumanians have to be supplied with food and credits have to be given, in the final result England has to stand the racket. It is time that we again told the world what we have done. These things tend to be forgotten. Our policy is quite clear but imperfectly understood. We mean that the French shall have coal in the Saar Valley and that the Poles shall have access to the sea through Danzig; but we don't want to create a condition of affairs that will be likely to lead to another war. We don't want to place millions of Germans under the domination of the French and the Poles. That would not be for their benefit, and what is the use of setting up a lot of Alsace-Lorraines?
- Lord Riddell's diary entry (31 March 1919), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908-1923 (London: The Athlone Press, 1986), pp. 263-264
- Those insolent Germans made me very angry yesterday. I don't know when I have been more angry. Their conduct showed that the old German is still there. Your Brockdorff-Rantzaus will ruin Germany's chances of reconstruction. But the strange thing is that the Americans and ourselves felt more angry than the French and Italians. I asked old Clemenceau why. He said, "Because we are accustomed to their insolence. We have had to bear it for fifty years. It is new to you and therefore it makes you angry".
- At the opening of a conference the day before, the German delegate Count Brockdorff-Rantzau unexpectedly made a speech that was regarded as tactless. Lord Riddell's diary entry (8 May 1919), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908-1923 (London: The Athlone Press, 1986), p. 275
- I sometimes wish that I were in the Labour Party. I would tear down all these institutions!
- Speaking of landlords. Frances Stevenson's diary entry (17 December 1919), A. J. P. Taylor (ed.), Lloyd George: A Diary (London: Hutchinson, 1971), p. 193
- Winston [Churchill] is the only remaining specimen of a real Tory.
- Frances Stevenson's diary entry (17 January 1920), A. J. P. Taylor (ed.), Lloyd George: A Diary (London: Hutchinson, 1971), p. 197
- We have murder by the throat!
- The League of Nations is the greatest humbug in history. They cannot even protect a little nation like Armenia. They do nothing but pass useless resolutions.
- Lord Riddell's diary entry (18 December 1920), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908-1923 (London: The Athlone Press, 1986), p. 330
- [Lloyd George] said that Harding's speech on American naval aspirations made him feel that he would pawn his shirt rather than allow America to dominate the seas. If this was to be the outcome of the League of Nations propaganda, he was sorry for the world and in particular for America.
- Lord Riddell's diary entry (1 January 1921), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908-1923 (London: The Athlone Press, 1986), p. 332
- [Lloyd George] then when on to say that the Imperial Conference had had a meeting that morning, and that he, Smuts, Hughes and Massey did not intend to allow the British Empire to take a back seat. Gt Britain had won the war. She had made enormous sacrifices in men and money, and they were quite determined that she should not be overshadowed by America.
- Lord Riddell's diary entry (July 1921), J. M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908-1923 (London: The Athlone Press, 1986), p. 330
- The B[ritish] E[mpire] is a sisterhood of nations—the greatest in the world. Look at this table: There sits Africa—English and Boer; there sits Canada—French, Scotch & English; there sits Australia, representing many races—even Maoris; there sits India; here sit the representatives of England, Scotland & Wales; all we ask you to do is to take your place in this sisterhood of free nations. It is an invitation, Mr. De Valera: we invite you here.
- Frances Stevenson's diary entry (14 July 1921), A. J. P. Taylor (ed.), Lloyd George: A Diary (London: Hutchinson, 1971), pp. 227-228
- Of all the bigotries that savage the human temper there is none so stupid as the anti-Semitic.
- I am making no predictions and the Prime Minister is wise in taking that line, but I am perfectly certain that nothing will enable the German Empire for a generation or two to get anywhere near the same position of dominant force and menace that it was in before the War. I do not say they desire it—I do not believe there is any such desire in Germany at the present moment.
- Speech in the House of Commons (28 March 1928)
- Liberty is not merely a privilege to be conferred; it is a habit to be acquired.
- Speech in the House of Commons (10 May 1928)
- Liberty has restraints but no frontiers.
- International Liberal Conference (July 1928)
- Sincerity is the surest road to confidence.
- Speech at Aberystwyth (3 August 1928)
- This war, like the next war, is a war to end war.
- Statement, sometimes dated to have been made in 1916, as quoted in Reading, Writing and Remembering : A Literary Record (1932) by Edward Verrall Lucas, p. 296
- Death is the most convenient time to tax rich people.
- In Lord Riddell's Intimate Diary of the Peace Conference and After, 1918-1923 (1933)
- They condemn him [Hitler] for persecuting the Jews, but he has not shown half the ferocity which Cromwell showed towards the Irish Catholics—as for instance, in the siege of the fortress of Drogheda and the burning alive of its inmates.
- Frances Stevenson's diary entry (6 November 1934), A. J. P. Taylor (ed.), Lloyd George: A Diary (London: Hutchinson, 1971), p. 287
- He [Hitler] is a very great man. "Fuhrer" is the proper name for him, for he is a born leader, yes, and statesman.
- A. J. Sylvester's diary entry (4 September 1936), Colin Cross (ed.), Life with Lloyd George. The Diary of A. J. Sylvester 1931-45 (London: Macmillan, 1975), p. 148
- Ah, Mein Kampf is a Magna Charta.
- A. J. Sylvester's diary entry (6 September 1936), Colin Cross (ed.), Life with Lloyd George. The Diary of A. J. Sylvester 1931-45 (London: Macmillan, 1975), p. 151
- I have just returned from a visit to Germany. … I have now seen the famous German leader and also something of the great change he has effected. Whatever one may think of his methods — and they are certainly not those of a Parliamentary country — there can be no doubt that he has achieved a marvellous transformation in the spirit of the people, in their attitude towards each other, and in their social and economic outlook.
One man has accomplished this miracle. He is a born leader of men. A magnetic dynamic personality with a single-minded purpose, a resolute will, and a dauntless heart. He is the national Leader. He is also securing them against that constant dread of starvation which is one of the most poignant memories of the last years of the war and the first years of the Peace. The establishment of a German hegemony in Europe which was the aim and dream of the old prewar militarism, is not even on the horizon of Nazism.
- As quoted in The Daily Express (17 November 1936)
- Modern warfare, we discovered, was to a far greater extent than ever before a conflict of chemists and manufacturers. Manpower, it is true, was indispensable, and generalship will always, whatever the conditions, have a vital part to play. But troops, however brave and well led, were powerless under modern conditions unless equipped with adequate and up-to-date artillery (with masses of explosive shell), machine-guns, aircraft and other supplies. Against enemy machine-gun posts and wire entanglements the most gallant and best-led men could only throw away their precious lives in successive waves of heroic martyrdom. Their costly sacrifice could avail nothing for the winning of victory.
- It is not too much to say that when the Great War broke out our Generals had the most important lessons of their art to learn. Before they began they had much to unlearn. Their brains were cluttered with useless lumber, packed in every niche and corner.
- Hitler is a prodigious genius.
- A. J. Sylvester's diary entry (7 July 1940), Colin Cross (ed.), Life with Lloyd George. The Diary of A. J. Sylvester 1931-45 (London: Macmillan, 1975), p. 275
- Anyhow, it is a different situation now to what it was then; Clemenceau had power; I shall wait until Winston is bust.
- A. J. Sylvester's diary entry (3 October 1940), Colin Cross (ed.), Life with Lloyd George. The Diary of A. J. Sylvester 1931-45 (London: Macmillan, 1975), p. 281
- [Lloyd George] told me he did not see how we could get successfully through this war..."It is clear that that damn fool Neville [Chamberlain] never gave a thought to that question - whether we would win - when he declared war. I am not against war, but I am against war when we have no chance of winning.
- A. J. Sylvester's diary entry (24 January 1941), Colin Cross (ed.), Life with Lloyd George. The Diary of A. J. Sylvester 1931-45 (London: Macmillan, 1975), p. 287
- Quite frankly, I think Hitler will win. I do not say that Hitler will be able to invade this country. It is a very difficult channel to cross. Lots of people have tried it, including Napoleon...I would not have gone to war without having Russia on our side. It was an idiotic thing to do.
- A. J. Sylvester's diary entry (26 November 1941), Colin Cross (ed.), Life with Lloyd George. The Diary of A. J. Sylvester 1931-45 (London: Macmillan, 1975), pp. 296-298
- There is nothing more dangerous than to leap a chasm in two jumps.
- As quoted in Design for Power : The Struggle for the World (1941) by Frederick Lewis Schuman, p. 200; This is the earliest citation yet found for this or similar statements which have been attributed to David Lloyd George, as well as to Benjamin Disraeli, Winston Churchill, Vaclav Havel, Jeffrey Sachs, Rashi Fein, Walter Bagehot and Philip Noel-Baker. It has been described as a Greek, African, Chinese, Russian and American proverb, and as "an old Chassidic injunction". Variants:
Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.
The most dangerous thing in the world is to try to leap a chasm in two jumps.
- Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd (Welsh: The truth against the world).
- A politician is a person with whose politics you don't agree; if you agree with him he's a statesman.
- As quoted in The British System of Government (1965) by Dilwyn Thomas
- As we came away we ran into Lloyd George. Turning to me he said: "What are you going to do, my boy, when you grow up?" "I'm going into the Navy, sir," I replied. He frowned. "There are many greater storms in politics. If it's piracy you want, with broadsides, boarding parties, walking the plank and blood on the deck, this is the place." His words had gone home. That evening I confided to my father that what Lloyd George had said had decided my life. It would be politics for me.
- Recounted by Julian Amery, Approach March: A Venture in Autobiography (1973)
- Ah, on the water, I presume.
- The centuries rarely produce a genius. It is our bad luck that the great genius of our era was granted to the Turkish nation. We could not beat Mustafa Kemal.
- Lloyd George is portrayed as saying this, as George Nathaniel Curzon was making a complaint against Raymond Poincaré in the Turkish TV series, Kurtulus (1994), but no prior citation of such a statement has yet been found.
Quotes about Lloyd GeorgeEdit
David Lloyd George was the best-hated statesman of his time, as well as the best loved, ~ David Low
- I feel very bitter about Lloyd George; his is the kind of character I mind most, because I feel his charm and recognize his genius; but he is full of emotion without heart, brilliant without intellect, and a gambler without foresight. He has reduced our prestige and stirred up resentment by his folly — in India, Egypt, Ireland, Poland, Russia, America, and France.
- David Lloyd George excelled even the ruck of politicians in his desire for what he thought was fame, as well as his extravagant greed for money. The two things do not usually go together but in his case it was difficult to say which was the stronger. He fully achieved both. Lloyd George began as a small Nonconformist Radical member of Parliament. He was a fluent speaker and appealed strongly to the audiences which in an earlier generation had also been appealed to by Spurgeon, Moody and Sankey and people of that kind. He may possibly like other men of the sort who enter public life had some sort of convictions when he begun, but he had certainly lost them by the year 1900 and was purely on the make.
- It was ironical that Lloyd George, when he gave the vote to women in 1919 (though even then not on the same terms as men) declared that they deserved it for their war service and this was widely accepted as the explanation of their success in 1919. I regard this as a myth. I believed they would have won the vote earlier and on better terms if there had been no war. If the General Election due in 1915 had taken place there is little doubt that the supporters of women's suffrage would have been in a majority in the House of Commons.
- The Coalition Government of 1918 onwards really was pretty bad, and it is a discreditable episode in our history that Lloyd George, a great man who came into public life as a great Radical and who, as his later history showed, retained so much of real radicalism in his heart, should at that moment, of all moments, have chosen to hang on to personal power at the price of giving way to the worst elements in the community — only to be cast out by the Tories like an old shoe, when he had served his purpose, killed the Liberal Party, and deceived the working class so thoroughly that they would never trust him again.
- My father took me to a dinner of the Honorable Cymmrodorion Society — a Welsh literary club — where Lloyd George, then Secretary for War, and W. M. Hughes, the Australian Prime Minister, both spoke. Hughes was perky, dry, and to the point; Lloyd George was up in the air in one of his "glory of the Welsh hills" speeches. The power of his rhetoric amazed me. The substance of the speech might be commonplace, idle and false, but I had to fight hard against abandoning myself with the rest of his audience. He sucked power from his listeners and spurted it back at them. Afterwards, my father introduced me to Lloyd George, and when I looked closely at his eyes they seemed like those of a sleep-walker.
- To see the British Prime Minister watching the company, with six or seven senses not available to ordinary men, judging character, motive, and subconscious impulse, perceiving what each was thinking and even what each was going to say next, and compounding with telepathic instinct the argument or appeal best suited to the vanity, weakness, or self-interest of his immediate auditor, was to realize that the poor President would be playing blind man's buff in that party.
- Lloyd George was a wonderful orator. I have heard my father say that when he came to address meetings in Scotland you had to hold on to your seat not to be carried away. And in his early years he was deeply concerned to make life more tolerable for the poor. He fought for his social security legislation with all his boundless energy and adroitness; the only thing he was not prepared to do for the poor was to become one of them. He needed money, lots of money, to maintain a home for his wife and family in Wales and another in England for his secretary, who became his mistress.
In our part of the world Lloyd George was no hero. We did not forgive or forget the Khaki Election of 1918. Nor his treatment of pacifists during the war. Nor the Marconi Scandal. Nor the way he played fast and loose with the Suffragette Movement, doing nothing to oppose forceful feeding or to undo the notorious Cat and Mouse Act.
What Lloyd George failed to understand was no man, however gifted, is a major political power in himself. He can teach, he can preach, he can make a significant contribution, but power politics is a struggle between social forces, not a duel between individuals. Once the war was over the Tories had no more use for him. He was an outsider, an upstart Welsh lawyer who had got above himself.
- David Lloyd George was the best-hated statesman of his time, as well as the best loved. The former I have good reason to know; every time I made a pointed cartoon against him, it brought batches of approving letters from all the haters. Looking at Lloyd George's pink and hilarious, head thrown back, generous mouth open to its fullest extent, shouting with laughter at one of his own jokes, I thought I could see how it was that his haters hated him. He must have been poison to the old school tie brigade, coming to the House an outsider, bright, energetic, irrepressible, ruthless, mastering with ease the House of Commons procedure, applying all the Celtic tricks in the bag, with a talent for intrigue that only occasionally got away from him.
I always had the greatest difficulty in making Lloyd George sinister in a cartoon. Every time I drew him, however critical the comment, I had to be careful or he would spring off the drawing-board a lovable cherubic little chap. I found the only effective way of putting him definitely in the wrong in a cartoon was by misplacing this quality in sardonic incongruity — by surrounding the comedian with tragedy.
- At Geneva other countries would have agreed not to use aeroplanes for bombing purposes, but we insisted on reserving the right, as D. puts it, to bomb niggers! Whereupon the whole thing fell through, & we add 5 millions to our air armaments expenditure.
- Frances Stevenson, Countess Lloyd George of Dwyfor on David Lloyd George's comment on Ramsay Macdonald's Government's stance in armament talks, in a diary entry (9 March 1934), as published in Lloyd George : A Diary (1971), p. 259. This seems to be the earliest source for such a statement, although variants apparently derived from it have sometimes been presented as a direct quote of Lloyd George specifically supporting such a policy:
- We must reserve the right to bomb niggers.
- We have to reserve the right to bomb niggers.
- Britain must reserve the right to bomb niggers.
- The actual quotation of Stevenson, despite using a racist vernacular, is ambiguous and may indicate a disapproval of both the government's policy and its costs, as at that point Lloyd George had been out of office for 12 years.