The Magazine

Grand Alliance

How Winston and the Welsh Wizard made history.

Nov 17, 2008, Vol. 14, No. 09 • By DAVID AIKMAN
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Of course, the two great wartime prime ministers had much more in common than their backgrounds suggest: Both were outsiders, mavericks, rebels against tradition and conformity. They were both intellectually brilliant--though Lloyd George was the more consistent to his own political principles--and each recognized and always responded to the virtues he saw in the other. Churchill always looked upon Lloyd George as mentor, an elder brother, the leader for whom he was "the lieutenant," never referring to any other politician in this deferential way.

David and Winston makes use of both material in the public domain and materials derived from family archives, and Robert Lloyd George's account of the politics of the Britain of Edward VII and George V is fluent--though it might have benefited from more background analysis of the key issues affecting both the Lloyd George/Churchill friendship and the points where they seriously differed on policy.
What remains astonishing, of course, is that two such ambitious, opinionated men should have assiduously nurtured a political friendship over so many years. Such an alliance of political personalities is hardly conceivable today, when it is virtually impossible to "cross the floor" and principled political independence is almost never rewarded at the ballot box. That, of course, is our loss. Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George demonstrated how effective a carefully nurtured friendship could be over four decades in influencing the affairs of the world.

David Aikman is the author, most recently, of The Delusion of Disbelief.