By George Volkov
The People’s budget:
Being a socialist, I am against any dictator, any tyrant, any monarch, dear leader of whatever title they have appointed themselves. The fact here in Britain we have an unelected head of state, and house of lords, essentially makes all socialist reforms impossible. This means even if the people want the house of lords out, there is no legal way we can kick them out.
Do we want to tax the aristocracy more so we can make university free?
Rejected, even if parliament passes it. David Lloyd George came up against the house of lords in an attempt to get his people’s budget passed.
Lloyd George argued that the People’s Budget would eliminate poverty, and commended it thus:
“This is a war Budget. It is for raising money to wage implacable warfare against poverty and squalidness. I cannot help hoping and believing that before this generation has passed away, we shall have advanced a great step towards that good time, when poverty, and the wretchedness and human degradation which always follows in its camp, will be as remote to the people of this country as the wolves which once infested its forests”
Britain was also trying to keep up with the rising power of imperial Germany, and were in an arms race, a prelude to the impending war.
“a fully-equipped duke cost as much to keep up as two dreadnoughts (battleships)”– but was “much less easy to scrap”- Lloyd George
On the 30th November 1909, the Finance Bill was resolutely rejected by the House of Lords, by 350 votes to 75. The Prime Minister, Asquith, subsequently moved a motion to dissolve Parliament, declaring the act to be a “breach of the constitution and usurption of the rights of the Commons.” The House of Lords had gone one step too far this time, breaking an ancient, yet unwritten constitutional prerogative forbidding the Upper Chamber from rejecting financial bills put forward by the elected Lower House. The issue was portrayed as one of the peers versus the people at the ensuing election in January 1910 and Lloyd George toured the country addressing working class crowds and stressing that the rich landowners that filled the red benches of the Lords would rather see the food of the masses taxed, rather than pay for important measures to fight poverty from their own overflowing pockets. His most renowned speech at Limehouse used particularly forceful language and even provoked a letter of complaint from the King.
Although the Liberals returned to Parliament with 100 less seats, they had still won an important moral victory over the Lords and the Conservative opposition and on the 28th April 1910, the Lords were finally forced to accept the Budget, which passed into law after no fewer than 70 parliamentary days of debate and 554 divisions.
As a result of the budget, we now have the NHS, state pensions, sick pay, free school meals for poor children, etc.
This shows what can be done of we remove the wealth from the hands of an elite minority. Imagine what could be done if we decided to do away with the archaic principles of the aristocracy.
“Who ordained that a few should have the land of Britain as a perquisite; who made ten thousand people owners of the soil and the rest of us trespassers in the land of our birth?”
David Lloyd George