The Strange Death of Liberal England

George Dangerfield’s book is widely praised as an insight into machinations of Britain’s political climate in the last few years leading up to “The Great War”.

After deciding that I should read it my challenge was finding an affordable copy. Second-hand book stores seem to selling copies for about £30, as it is no longer in print.

Thankfully West Sussex Libraries were able to track down a solitary copy, which seems to have suffered from a severe guillotine attack, as it now lacks an outer margin.

So was the book as good as the Radio 4 review first aired back in 2011 suggests?

Any book first published in 1935 is unlikely to scan like a modern day Waitrose free newspaper.

Stick with though and you’ll be treated to a book which is outlandish in a Clarksonesque fashion, as it pulls no punches on three key topics.

The Irish Problem

The Suffragettes

The Trade Unions

These three issues swirl around an out of touch parliament, where the ineptitude of the Liberal Party is only matched by the treason like behaviour of the Tory Party.

If you ever wondered why the IRA and Sinn Fein knocked seven bells out of each other during “The Troubles” Dangerfield will give you the back story.

You might think Emily Pankhurst was the main advocate in the fight for the vote for women. Actually there were three Pankhursts, and Sylvia was given little credence for her efforts to further the feminine cause.

It seems utterly unbelievable that “the pretty one” masterminded the campaign from Paris to avoid any personal discomfort! Even worse Christabel only wanted the franchise for upper class women! She comes across as utterly despicable.

The affluent business owners presiding over the coal mines, railways and ports are tarred with a similar brush. Sadly the Government seemed remarkably out of touch with how the working class lived.

My last observation? The politicians of today were preceded by equally incompetent (fraudulent even) men. The only real change in the intervening 110 years? You guessed it – we now also have women of Diane Abbot and Priti Patel’s calibre representing constituents and looking idiotic!

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