By David Butler (eds.)
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Extra info for Coalitions in British Politics
Anti-profiteering' was one of Tillett's most popular lines of attack. These by-elections provided a safety-valve for Liberal or Labour voters to display their vague discontent with what was (on paper) a largely right-wing coalition. But they did not seriously disturb relations between the coalitionist party machines or upset the plausible claim of the government to be national in character. As time went on, Lloyd George's administration became more clearly all-party and broad-based in form. In July 1917, he strengthened its Liberal representation significantly by bringing in Winston Churchill and Edwin Montagu, two impressive figures, to Munitions and the India Office respectively.
These last included four Cabinet ministers (Shortt, Munro, McCurdy and Churchill). The policy of 'retaliation' in Ireland through the 'Black and Tans' and the' Auxis' also gave rise to protests by Liberal ministers. 28 On the other hand, the Irish Office was in Liberal hands - MacPherson being followed by Hamar Greenwood and the 1920 Government of Ireland Act could be defended on traditional Liberal grounds as a 'home rule' solution. On the whole, the Liberal ministers and their back-bench supporters were uneasy less at 42 Coalifions in British Politics the course of government policy, which was recognised as being far from reactionary on most issues, than at the gulf which divided them from their Asquithian brethren.
They accepted his view that the Coalition occupied a creative middle role between 'the revolutionary and the reactionary',32 and that the major problems of the time (Bonar Law cited peace, housing, imperial preference, labour, pensions and Ireland)33 necessitated a national approach, just as had the winning of the war. 34 The 'unity' of wartime was frequently cited on coalition platforms as a major precedent for sustaining the government now. The 'unity of command' between Haig and Foch was the model, so men like Hilton Young or Lord Derby argued, for the union between the coalition armies.
Coalitions in British Politics by David Butler (eds.)