Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Children back Charles Masterman in 1914 by-election

When my political hero Charles Masterman was appointed to the cabinet in 1914 he was obliged, under the law of the day, to resign as an MP and fight a by-election.

The photograph above must come from that campaign. Masterman was defeated in Bethnal Green and again at a second by-election in Ipswich shortly afterwards. Unable to get back into parliament, he was put in charge of the British propaganda effort when the First World War broke out.

Masterman is often described as an unlucky politician, and there is certainly something in that. However, his defeat at these two by-elections as the minister most associated with Lloyd George's health insurance measures, is a reminder of how controversial they were at the time.

Thanks to Tim Holyoake for alerting me to the fact that images from the Getty site can now be freely embedded on blogs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't say Masterman is hero of mine. He was a progressive thinker before 1914 but then ended up being responsible for the propaganda that led thousands to their deaths in a horrific imperialist war.