This quote by Lloyd George has been suggested to me. It’s from “Carving the Last Few Columns out of the Gladstonian Quarry: The Liberal Leaders and the Mantle of Gladstone, 1898–1929”, in David Bebbington and Roger Swift (eds.), Gladstone Centenary Essays, p 253.

The doctrine of Liberalism is a doctrine that believes that private property, as an incentive, as a means, as a reward, is the most potent agency not merely for the wealth, but for the well-being of the community. That is the doctrine not merely of Peel, of Disraeli, of Salisbury, and Chamberlain; it is the doctrine of Gladstone; it is the doctrine of Cobden; it is the doctrine of Bright; and it is the doctrine of Campbell Bannerman…It is the doctrine of all the great Liberal leaders of the past and present.

Given how far they have travelled from the liberalism of Gladstone to the liberalism of Rawls, the Liberals are something of a metaphor for our predicament. I have commented on their journey before: it will be interesting to see where it goes next.

One Comment

  1. Matthew Newton

    In my view this is an accurate summary, though you may not agree:
    socialism – let the state have power
    conservatism – let rich people have power
    liberalism – let people have the power, through redistributing to ensure equal opportunities for all