A century ago today…

… Herbert Asquith formally became Prime Minister, the last leader of a Liberal government. To mark the occasion, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has put up this webpage to Asquith and the dynasty that came after him.

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  • “Really? What more shameful than Conservative support for the Iraq war? If you say so . . .”

    The First World War killed 800,000 British and some 200,000 Commonwealth servicemen. I don’t think the modern Tory Party attains quite those levels of barbaric incompetence.

    Asquith belonged to the era when war was a noble enterprise undertaken in the name of God. Spilling enemy blood was a sacred act which proved one’s manhood. The authoritarian right still believes that.

  • Newmania- I think very few people predicted the first world war

  • Hywel Morgan 8th Apr '08 - 5:06pm

    As I discovered yesterday, Asquith was counsel for the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company in the original trial but couldn’t appear in the appeal as he had (rather inconveniently) become Home Secretary

  • Duncan Brack 12th Apr '08 - 5:18pm

    Actually Campbell-Bannerman was the last Liberal leader to win an outright victory (in terms of a majority of seats) at the ballot box, in 1906. The two elections that Asquith ‘won’, in 1910, in fact resulted in minority governments, though the Liberals stayed in power with the support for Irish Nationalist and Labour MPs. And Lloyd George was the last Liberal Prime Minister, though his governments were always coalitions of Liberal and Conservative (and a few Labour and other) MPs, with Liberals always in the minority. So it depends how you define your terms, really.

    Nevertheless, we should remember Asquith. Whatever his shortcomings, he was the second longest-serving PM of the 20th century, and played a key role in the foundation of the welfare state.

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