“The finest eloquence is that which gets things done; the worst is that which delays them.”—British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, speech at the Paris Peace Conference, January 1919
David Lloyd George, born on this date 150 years ago, led Great Britain during World War I, but his finest moments probably came before that bloody conflict, when, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer under then-Prime Minister Herbert H. Asquith, he crusaded for what represented the first inklings of his nation’s welfare state—a program involving old-age pensions, labor exchanges and a children’s allowance on income tax.
The “Welsh Wizard’s” proposal for raising the funds for this “People’s Budget”—a tax on the superrich—led to an epic clash and constitutional crisis with the House of Lords, the nation’s bastion of hereditary privilege. He was finally able to push the legislation through, in part because of the quality he mentioned at the conference to end WWI—eloquence which “gets things done.”
(Image from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division.)