Western Mail, 9 May 1916
Here the cartoonist again calls upon a quotation from Shakespeare as inspiration. The quotation is from Hamlet Act I Scene 3 and is from the speech of Polonius advising Laertes to win any quarrel in which he becomes involved. This cartoon depicts Lloyd George as Polonius advising John Bull to take much the same approach towards the war and it is taken from the former’s speech made in Conway on 6 May in which he set out his arguments in favour of the Military Service Act and the introduction of conscription. He stated: ‘I am told that the fact that I supported it [conscription] proves I am no longer a Liberal. Well, there must be a good many Liberals in the same plight, because the other night barely one-tenth of the Liberal Party voted against it. … After all … great democracies in peril have always had to resort to compulsion to save themselves. … It is purely … a means of organising the strength and virility of a nation to save itself from oppression, and that is why, as a Liberal fighting the battle of liberty in Europe, I have no shame in declaring for compulsory enlistment as I would for compulsory taxes or for compulsory education, or … for compulsory insurance.’ According to Chris Wrigley (Lloyd George, 1992, p. 74), in this speech he ‘expressed what was truly the essence of his wartime politics’, in the lines quoted in the caption, after which Lloyd George added ‘I want this to be the last [war], and it won’t be unless this war is effectively managed by us. A badly conducted war means a bad peace, and a bad peace means no peace at all. That is why I have urged that this war should be conducted with determination.’
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