By Thomas E. Brewton
Historical parallels are never exact, but political events in England
at the beginning of the 20th century had some remarkable similarities
to our political turmoil at the beginning of the 21st century.
Republicans are split over the Mexican immigration problem and in
danger of losing their Congressional majorities. If the fracture
continues to widen, the Republican Party may find itself wandering in
the political desert for a 40-years Exodus, because of its attempts
Shortly after the Parliamentary elections of 1910, the British
Liberal Party (laissez-faire, small-government conservatism; the
opposite of American-style liberal-socialism) was ripped to pieces in
the heated controversy over granting Irish home rule. In the
fallout, the Liberal Party died, its place taken by the socialist
The Boer War, England’s bloody 1899 – 1902 slog in South Africa,
drained public support from the Liberals, just as Vietnam did and
Iraq is doing today in the United States.
Republican compassionate conservatism is turning out to be big-
government welfare and old-style pork-barreling that is
indistinguishable from Democratic Party liberalism.
Much the same drift was eroding the moral principles of the English
Liberal Party after 1910. David Lloyd George was elevated to the
Chancellorship of the Exchequer (treasury secretary), where he
produced a budget that opened the door wide to socialism and eventual
triumph of the Labour Party. His rise to prominence had been levered
by having bitterly opposed the Boer War and being regarded in the
sanguinary aftermath as a seer, a game that American liberal
Republicans and Democrats are playing to the hilt today.
Facing a monumental war debt and the need to find the tax revenues to
fund it, Lloyd George went on a propaganda offensive with his
“Peoples Budget” that attacked the Conservative party in the Commons
and essentially the whole of the House of Lords. He proposed, in
addition to institution of a welfare system, increases in inheritance
taxes, a tax on undeveloped land, taxes on coal and mineral
royalties, and a fee for the termination of leases, along with a
heavy tax on liquor sales and a super-tax on all incomes over £5,000
These affronts galvanized and united the Conservatives, who set out
to thwart the Liberals at every step of the way, just as Democrats
here have done in the last few years with Senate filibusters and
other parliamentary tactics.
Needing increased Parliamentary support to offset the Conservatives,
the Liberals made an alliance with the Irish members of Parliament.
Their price was Liberal support for the politically explosive issue
of home rule for Ireland. This amounted to revocation of the Act of
Union, which had codified English control of Irish political affairs.
Irish home rule was the same sort of culturally and racially tinged
issue that immigration of Mexican illegals has become for us today.
The battle raged into 1914, on the eve of World War I, which was to
demote London as the world’s financial center and Great Britain as
the dominant factor in international trade. In the 1920s, the
socialist Labour Party became the ruling political party and
continued so until it had ground England into the economic dust,
making it the sick man of Europe in the 1950s and 1960s.
After more than 50 years, Great Britain was finally rescued in the
1970s by the moral fortitude of Margaret Thatcher and her rebuilding
of the Conservative Party.
If present Republican Party leadership are not more prudent than they
have been so far, Republicans will follow the path of the British
laissez-faire Liberal Party and surrender the United States to
liberal socialism. That will destroy us, if Al Queda doesn’t do it
first. In this round of history there may not be enough time for an
American Margaret Thatcher to come to the fore and take the reins.
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc.
The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of
writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776
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