Lloyd George explains National Insurance, 1912
HLRO LG/C/35/2/1

(Daily Telegraph, 2nd Feb., 1912)


On the occasion of his visit to the lecture room of the National Insurance Committee, at Millbank House, Westminster, yesterday morning, the Chancellor of the Exchequer addressed those present.
He said: I am very glad that this Committee has been formed for the purpose of explaining the Act to the people of this country, and I congratulate the Committee on the methods they have adopted. There is no doubt that there is a vast amount of misapprehension as to the character of the Act. I am amazed at the blunders that people have made about the Act - and fairly intelligent people, too. They may, or may not, be intentional, of course, except in some cases (laughter). I like to take a charitable view of human nature, but they are really very extraordinary mistakes.
What I am told by those who have undertaken to explain the Act to their constituents is that, when they hear what the Act really is, they are bound to be amazed and, in the second place, that they are very indignant. You have a gigantic task
in front of you, but it is rendered easier by the fact that the people are taking an interest in it. I am sure that, when your task is accomplished, you will find that there will be such a feeling in favour of working the Act and in favour of its provisions generally that it will be a source of enormous strength to the general Liberal policy (hear, hear). In fact, I think that the success of Liberalism, not merely in this, but also in other measures, will very largely depend upon the atmosphere which you create by the success of your lectures.
You have, I suppose, in England, twelve or thirteen millions of insured persons. It takes a good many meetings to reach them all. I wish you will in your task. You are rendering an enormous service, not merely to Liberalism, but, I think, to humanity. Had I not believed that this Act of Parliament was going to relieve a large amount of undeserved suffering, I would not have touched it (hear, hear). I felt that it was worth incurring all the trouble and all the labour, worth facing all the misrepresentations and all the malignant abuse, for the purpose of putting it through, and when, at the end of a few years, you and I will realise the amount of distress that we have saved we shall be able, at any rate, to share in the satisfaction which will be deep and permanent in your lives and in mine (loud cheers).


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