11 MARCH 1922, Page 5


WE have dealt in the preceding article with the mystery of the recent crisis. Here our readers may be interested to see some quotations from the study on "Political Vampirism" which we published close upon two years ago. We have no wish to pose as prophets, and still less to indulge in the vanity of " We told you so," but there is a certain interest, if not much practical profit, in seeing how the conditions which now prevail were described by us when the Coalition was in the very heyday of its strength, that is, in the spring of 1919. The article in question began as follows :— " The dangers that threaten the Unionist Party are to be found in the recklessness, levity, insincerity and political selfish- ness of Mr. Lloyd George. Mr. Lloyd George is a species of political Vampire. He sucks the blood from each political Party in turn. When it is drained dry he leaves it to its fate. He himself flourishes on the process. It is death and damnation to the unfortunate subject of the Vampire's operations. That is how we are obliged to read the past, and, if the Unionist Party is not very vigilant and active, how we shall have to read the future."

Here is another excerpt :— " A man less skilled than Mr. Lloyd George in the arts of the Party Manager would probably have thought it better to become a Unionist, since that Party was evidently so willing to acclaim him and to accord him its favours. His strategy was different. No sooner had he disposed of the Liberals than he began the process of living on the blood of the Unionist Party, but without entering the Party. He set going disintegrating influences similar to those which had ruined the Liberals, and it is clear that unless this process is stopped the Unionists will soon be bled almost as white as the Liberals. The process was begun by Mr. Lloyd George introducing and keeping in the Ministry, as noticed above, a large number of Liberals of more than doubtful political character, a veritable group of Party undesir- ables, and this in spite of the fact that the great majority of his supporters were Unionists. This alleged reinforcement of the Unionists was commended in the columns of the Government Press, where it became the fashions some months ago to talk loudly if vaguely about 'Tories,' and to represent the Unionist part of the Ministry as consisting of reactionaries who must be watched lest they did the country a mischief. It was later suggested that the unpopularity which soon began to cloud the triumph of the General Election was due to these so-called Tories. As a matter of fact, the unpopular, the dangerous, the suspected members of the Ministry were almost without exception Liberals—the men who had left the sinking ship to serve under Mr. Lloyd George."

Here is the conclusion of our study in "Political Vampirism" :— "And what is to happen next ? We venture to say that what will happen next will be that Mr. Lloyd George before it is too late will find that, though he may have been a very devil in the carnal part, he was still always a sad, good Labourite at heart. As tired of working with Unionists as he was of work- ing with Liberals, he will tell the Labour Party that they alone can satisfy him, and he will place at their disposal his experience and his compact and efficient, if small, party machine. Let them choose him as their Chief, and he will at once secure them office by a raging, tearing propaganda which will include all the most attractive points in the Labour programme. If this does happen, and in our belief it is very likely to happen if Mr. Lloyd George is allowed completely to destroy the Unionist Party, what will the Labour Party say ? Unless they show more worldly wisdom and prudence than they have yet shown, they will, we believe, in spite of their personal dislike of Mr. Lloyd George, yield to the temptation of taking office, and so give him the opportunity of ruining their Party as he has ruined the Liberals and the Unionists. If he is given that opportunity, most surely he will use it. The only difference will be that the process will probably be rather more rapid owing to the rawness of the Labour legions, a rawness which will make them break all the more rapidly. However, this is prophecy. What we are concerned with, and what we implore the Unionist rank-and-file to consider, and to consider at once, is how to save the Unionist Party from destruction."