Ffynh 8L

Before this number will have appeared, the first Session of the present Parliament will have closed. Welshmen have reason to be proud of the achievements of their members. It has, in one sense, been the most Welsh session on record. If you look through the ‘unfathomable bog’ of Hansard, you will light upon the name of a Welsh member almost on every page. Mr Lloyd George has more than justified the high opinions that were entertained of him by his friends. Some cavillers used to think – or, at least, to say – that Mr George was only effective when he appealed to the prejudices of the most ignorant among his countrymen. ‘He carries no influence except among the mob’ we were told. ‘If you want a man of weight you must go to Mr Solemn Heavyside or Mr Pompous Verbosity.’ We were even told to distrust Mr George’s undoubted eloquence. ‘Of course’, said they, ‘Lloyd George is a good speaker – of a sort. He can rouse the enthusiasm of a crowd; he can talk most eloquently of Nationalism and Cymru Fydd and such vague things; but he is not a statesman or a debater. He is excellent on a popular platform – but he is a nobody in the House. There it is men like Mr Sprightly Keen and Mr Fluent Commonplace who are listened to with attention and respect.’ Of course these critics knew all about it – for did they not spend a night in the House of Commons two years ago, and, if I remember rightly, was it not Mr Lloyd George himself who procured admission for them?

This session, if it has done nothing else, has, at all events, put a stop to this idle chatter. Mr George is recognised to-day as the finest Parliamentarian that Wales has yet sent to the House of Commons, for with infinitely little resources he has ‘scored’ repeatedly over the ‘strongest Government of modern times’. Sir William Harcourt paid the young member for Caernarvon a handsome compliment publicly on the floor of the House for the way in which he has fought the Tory Government; but even stronger expressions of admiration have been used by politicians on both sides of the House in private. Mr Lloyd George not only has shown an intimate knowledge of the rules of the House, a readiness in debate, and a keen perception of the weak points of the Tory case, but he has been able, by this pluck and resolution, to do more than any other man to infuse a new courage into the Liberal ranks, and to discredit the methods and the policy of an overbearing majority. For all that, I humbly think that Mr George did greater work last year than this. This year he has only been called upon to show ‘grit’ and cleverness in fighting the enemy; last year he was put to a far more severe test – of standing up for principle against his friends.

(W. Llewellyn Williams, ‘Through Welsh spectacles’, Young Wales, August 1896, p. 192 [Tip: daliwch Ctrl a chliciwch dolen i'w agor mewn tab newydd. (Cuddio tip)] )