Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, O.M.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28 March 1945.

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Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale 12:00, 28 March 1945

The House will think it fitting on this occasion if I, as chairman of the Welsh Parliamentary Party, associated that party and, if I may say so, Wales, with what has been said so eloquently this afternoon. We have lost our most distinguished member and Wales her greatest son. I knew him, of course, merely towards the end, but I knew him intimately, and I was the recipient of his advice and of his encouragement on many occasions. I also, if I might remind the House, had some exchanges with him, and he was, like the Prime Minister, a most formidable and even terrifying debater, but he possessed what the Prime Minister also possesses, and that is the generosity of greatness. Despite the sharp exchanges, his spirit was sufficiently urbane to enable him to forgive everything afterwards and to be good friends. His name and the name of Wales are inextricably associated in men's minds, and neither has lost by the association. What the nation fathered in him the man brought to fulfilment in his career. The qualities that Lloyd George possessed we like to behove are the qualities of Wales—quick imagination, eager and ardent spirit and an insatiable curiosity. He never seemed, no matter where he was, to be tired of learning new things and meeting new people, and I believe that it was this insatiable curiosity, this ability to see things freshly, which was mainly responsible for some of his success.

Perhaps the House will permit me to say this, because I am anxious not to say anything that may appear to be controversial. When Lloyd George was denied office towards the end of his life by a concurrence of hostile political currents, I thought, as I watched him during those years, and at the same time watched the Prime Minister, who also for some time was out of office, that it must cause some of us to feel extremely humble, because there were two of the most eminent and brilliant Parliamentarians of this era denied employment by the State. It shows for us a moral—although perhaps it is not one to urge on this occasion—that even the most superabundant personal qualities are irrelevant if not associated with great mass machines. Lloyd George was a very democratically-minded man. He was first and last a democrat. He was at home in the village as well as in the central councils of the State. It was because of this universality of his that his speeches were always informed and enlivened by concrete metaphors. He always hated the tired phrase or the abstract noun, and if anyone wishes to learn the art of persuasive oratory he could not do better than read his speeches, because, although they may lack the classic form, every metaphor comes with an impact on the mind. At the same time, David Lloyd George was a patriot. His love of Wales was deep and passionate, but it was also associated with a cosmopolitan quality. The larger embraced the smaller. His patriotism was not exclusive. It functioned at the level of universal tolerance, and that, I think, was one of his most charming characteristics. He was able to give a universal significance to the local and the immediate because his preoccupation was as great in the smaller as in the larger. We ourselves in the Welsh Parliamentary Party mourn his passing. We have lost in his death the most iridescent figure that ever illumined the British political scene.