While I was on holiday I read "The strange day of
Liberal England" by George Dangerfield. This was the
history of the Liberal government just before the
first world war. Now that we have this crappy coalition
goverment, with the liberals living their dream of being the
conservative's whipping boys, before they are voted into
obscurity. So the history of the liberals is of more interest.
There were a number of challenges that
the 1906 Liberal government had to face. There was the issue of
home rule of Ireland, the suffragettes, and growing
industrial action. I didn't realize that the suffragettes
were so violent -- they burnt down buildings.
Dangerfield claims that elements in the
Conservative party were fermenting civil war in
Northern Ireland. I was shocked that there was almost
a rebellion in the British army, because of the NI issue.
It was interesting to see the history of industrial
action at the time.
I am not sure there are any lessons for the current liberals from this book.