winston churchill -- narrated march 2011

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Winston Churchill, The Liberals and The Land Question:

Winston Churchill, The Liberals and The Land Question 1895 Written and Narrated by Edward J. Dodson, M.L.A.

Slide 3:

Arthur Balfour “I thought he was a young man of promise, but it appears he is only a young man of promises.”

Slide 5:

“Englishman, 25 years old, about 5 ft. 8 in. tall, indifferent build, walks with a forward stoop, pale appearance, red-brownish hair, small and hardly noticeable moustache, talks through his nose and cannot pronounce the letter “s” properly.”

Slide 8:

“I was nearly a peace-at-any-price man up to the time of the declaration of the war. After that I was a victory at any-price man.”

Slide 9:

Joseph Chamberlain “I think that Lord Randolph’s son has inherited some of the great qualities of his father – his originality and his courage.”

Slide 11:

“From what I saw of the war in South Africa, and I saw something of it, I believe that as compared with other wars, especially those in which a civil population took part, it has been on the whole conducted with unusual humanity and generosity. The immediate policy of the Government should be to make it easy and honorable for the Boers to surrender and painful and perilous for them to continue in the field.”

Slide 12:

“I cannot sit down without saying how grateful I am for the kindness and patience with which the House has heard me. It has been extended to me, I well know, not on my own account, but because of a splendid memory which many old members still preserve.” Randolph Churchill

Slide 14:

“The enormous and varied frontiers of the Empire, and our many points of contact with barbarous peoples, will surely in the future … draw us into frequent little wars. …But we must not expect to meet the great civilised Powers in this easy fashion. ...”

Slide 15:

“…A European war cannot be anything but a cruel, heartrending struggle, which, if we are ever to enjoy the bitter fruits of victory, must demand, perhaps for several years, the whole manhood of the nation, the entire suspension of peaceful industries, and the concentrating to one end of every vital energy in the community.”

Slide 17:

“Without a supreme Navy, whatever military arrangements we may make, whether for foreign expeditions or home defence, must be utterly vain and futile. With such a Navy we may hold any antagonist at arm’s length and feed ourselves in the meantime, until, if we find it necessary, we can turn every city in the country into an arsenal, and the whole male population into an army.”

Slide 18:

Joseph Chamberlain

Slide 19:

“As the Liberals coalesced [to fight for a cause on which all Liberals were agreed] the Conservative Party disintegrated.”

Slide 21:

“This move means a change not only in historic English parties but in conditions of our public life. The old Conservative Party with its religious convictions and constitutional principles will disappear, and a new party will arise – rigid, materialistic and secular – whose opinions will turn on tariffs and who will cause the lobbies to be crowded with the touts of protected industries.”

Slide 22:


Slide 23:

Roy Douglas

Slide 24:

“The overwhelming majority of keen land reformers supported the Liberal Party, and most of those land reformers who were not Liberals were included among … a body which was soon to be reconstituted as the Labour Party…” Posting of election results

Slide 25:

Henry Campbell-Bannerman

Slide 26:

“We wish to make the land less of a pleasure-ground for the rich, and more of a treasure-house for the nation.” Henry Campbell-Bannerman

Slide 28:

Herbert Asquith

Slide 30:

David Lloyd George

Slide 31:

“It was under the inspiration of Lloyd George that Churchill turned social reformer.”

The United Committee for the Taxation of Land Values:

The United Committee for the Taxation of Land Values

Slide 33:

“It would be impossible to secure the passage of a separate Valuation bill … owing to the opposition of the Lords, and therefore the only possible chance which the Government have of redeeming their pledges … is by incorporating proposals involving land valuation in a Finance Bill.” David Lloyd George

Slide 35:

“… the most important and certainly the most fundamental part of constructive Liberal social policy.”

Slide 37:

Austen Chamberlain

Slide 38:

“It is certain that if we do nothing the Radical Party will sooner or later establish their national [land] tax, and once established in that form any Radical Chancellor in need of money … will find it an easy task to give a turn of the screw. …On the other hand if this source of revenue … is once given to municipalities, the Treasury will never be able to put its finger in the pie again.”

Slide 39:

Arthur Balfour

Slide 40:

The immemorial custom of nearly every modern State, the mature conclusions of many of the greatest thinkers, have placed the tenure, transfer, and obligations of land in a wholly different category from other classes of property. ...”

Slide 41:

“The mere obvious physical distinction between land, which is a vital necessity of every human being and which at the same time is strictly limited in extent, and other property is in itself sufficient to justify a clear differentiation in its treatment, and in the view taken by the State of the conditions which should govern the tenure of land from that which should regulate traffic in other forms of property”

Slide 43:

“It is quite true that land monopoly is not the only monopoly which exists, but it is by far the greatest of monopolies -- it is a perpetual monopoly, and it is the mother of all other forms of monopoly. It is quite true that unearned increments in land are not the only form of unearned or undeserved profit which individuals are able to secure; but it is the principal form of unearned increment which is derived from processes which are not merely not beneficial, but which are positively detrimental to the general public. …”

Slide 44:

“… Land, which is a necessity of human existence, which is the original source of all wealth, which is strictly limited in extent, which is fixed in geographical position. Land, I say, differs from all other forms of property in these primary and fundamental conditions.” Kings Theatre, Edinburgh, Scotland

Slide 47:

Josiah Wedgwood

Slide 48:

“… the valuation could be completed in a year if the Government were in earnest. …There are many in the Liberal Party who have had about enough of this.”

Slide 52:

“The Government has already … accepted the principle of the rating of site values, and intend to give effect to it by legislation. …Some desire the whole burden to be transferred from the structure to the site.”

Slide 53:


Slide 54:

Roy Douglas

Slide 55:

“Then, with dramatic suddenness, came the most unnecessary and disastrous war in the history of man. …”

Slide 56:

“The Land Campaign, along with all other questions which were likely to evoke public controversy, was thrust aside as expeditiously as possible in the interest of ‘national unity’.”

Slide 58:


Slide 59:

William Legge

Slide 60:

“… sacrifices of some kind from us all, but as it is inconceivable that after all that has passed we should go back to the old extremes of wealth and poverty, the old suspicion and prejudice, the continued warfare between class and class, employer and employed – it means, especially, that those who have most will have to make the largest sacrifices…”

Slide 61:

Labour Party Poster 1919

Slide 62:

“The results were an unqualified disaster to the land-taxers not only because most of the Government supporters were hostile to their cause, but also because no alternative administration could be discerned on the Opposition side of the House…”

Slide 65:

Austen Chamberlain

Slide 66:

Herbert Asquith

Slide 67:

“I still believe … in the necessity, first of all, of the valuation, and next, as a consequence of that valuation, … the taxing for public purposes, both imperial and local, of the site value of land. … [And] that it should be taxed and rated at the same price at which the owner is willing to sell it to the community, when the community wants to purchase it.” Herbert Asquith

Slide 68:

Stanley Baldwin

Slide 70:

“I am forced to ask: when did Mr. Baldwin reach this extraordinary conclusion that the free import of foreign goods into the home market is the cause of existing unemployment? …We have evidently witnessed a sudden mystic process of almost miraculous conversion. …”

Slide 72:

“… without an office, without a seat, without a party, and without an appendix.”

Slide 74:

James Ramsay MacDonald

Slide 75:

Philip Snowden

Slide 76:

“Snowden's rigidity of doctrine was otherwise impenetrable. Free imports, no matter what the foreigner may do to us; the Gold Standard, no matter how short we run of gold; austere repayment of debt, no matter how we have to borrow the money; high progressive direct taxation, even if it brings creative energies to a standstill; the 'Free breakfast-table,' even if it is entirely supplied from outside the British jurisdiction! ....”

Slide 78:

“My candidature is in no way hostile to the Conservative party or its leaders. On the contrary I recognize that that party must now become the main rallying ground for the opponents of the Socialist party. …Indeed anyone can see that a large measure of Liberal support must be won by the Conservatives if there is to be an effective resistance in the big struggle that is coming and coming soon.”

Slide 80:

Stanley Baldwin Winston Churchill, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1924

Slide 81:

Louis Broad: “Alarmed by the fear that the states of Europe might follow Russia into the abyss, he found cause to praise Mussolini and the Italian Fascists – ‘the necessary antidote to the Russian poison’.”

Slide 84:

John Maynard Keynes “…no instinctive judgement to prevent him from making mistakes'. … [L]acking this instinctive judgement, he was deafened by the clamorous voices of conventional finance; and, most of all . . he was misled by his experts.”

Slide 88:

“The debates between us became quite a Parliamentary entertainment. They were regarded as the best show in London. When it was expected that we should both be speaking, the public galleries were invariably crowded.”

Slide 90:

Announcing reform in the system of property rating …

Slide 91:

“The object was to readjust rating burdens as between productive industries – which were unjustly burdened – and the distributing trades – which escaped their just dues. Relief was to be given by reducing the rates on all premises used for production and on freight-carrying railways., docks and canals. Agricultural land would be freed of the last remaining 25 per cent liability for rates.” Lewis Broad

Slide 96:

Neville Chamberlain

Slide 97:

Neville Chamberlain

Slide 98:

“For the remainder of the 1930s, the chief preoccupation of statesmen lay at first with industrial unemployment and later with international questions. Arguably, the land problem really stood at the root of both of these issues; but whether this be true or false, most men did not see things that way.”

Slide 100:

Clement Attlee

Slide 101:

“Labour believes in Land Nationalisation and will work towards it, but, as a first step, the State and local authorities must have wider and speedier powers to acquire land for public purposes wherever the public interest so requires. In this regard and for the purposes of controlling land use under town and country planning, we will provide for fair compensation, but we will also provide for public funds from ‘betterment.”

Slide 103:

" I remember the old days, … when the taxation of land values and of unearned increments in land was a foremost principle and a lively element in the programme of the Radical Party to which I then belonged. But what is the situation which presents itself to us to-day? …”

Slide 104:

"In those days we had the spectacle of valuable land being kept out of the market until the exact moment for its sale was reached, regardless of the fact that its increased value was due to the exertions of the surrounding community. Then we had the idea that, if those obstructions could be cleared out of the way, free enterprise would bound forward and small people would have a chance to get a home, or to improve their existing homes, and many other things besides. …”

Slide 106:

“For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

Slide 107:

George L. Pepler, author of the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947

Slide 110:

Harold Wilson -- 1964

Slide 111:

Harold Wilson Michael Foot

Slide 113:

“Following the 1973/74 collapse at the end of the previous cycle, land values recovered rapidly, reaching their 1973 speculative peaks within five years and during a period of on-going recession.” Fred Harrison -- 1983

Slide 115:

“OPEC was quickly singled out as the ‘fall guy’, but this interpretation is implausible on timing. …” Fred Harrison -- 1983

Slide 116:

“In fact, since the major price rise early in 1974, the cost of oil in relation to manufactured goods had declined. From 1976 onwards, UK consumers were paying less for crude oil, in real terms.” Fred Harrison -- 1983

Slide 117:


Slide 118:

“Proposals to tax land values are always and everywhere strenuously resisted by those in possession of them, who regard as sacred a form of property which enriches them without effort on their own part and lays the work of the world under tribute. …”

Slide 119:

“The landowners have long been a privileged class holding an undue proportion of wealth influence and power in the country, able thereby to remove most of the public burdens from their own to other shoulders and they fiercely resent any attempt to make them pay for the privileges they enjoy, by taxing the value of the land they hold.”

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