Spring 1909 (Age 34)

David Lloyd Georges’ ‘Peoples’ Budget’ of 1909

The prospects of the brilliant Asquith Government were dim because of by-election losses and the economic depression. But the crisis looming between the reactionary Tory back-benchers and the House of Lords on one side, and the Liberal backbenchers and their Labour allies on the other, was to be the Government’s salvation.

The focus of the battle was the “Peoples’ Budget” of Lloyd George and the results were the death of the old laissez-faire Liberalism and the first light of day for the welfare state. Throughout the debate, Churchill took pride that he had drawn a line “below which we will not allow persons to live and yet above which they may compete with all the strength of their manhood.”

Although The Times called the budget “unadventurous,” it was a divisive influence within the Marlborough family. Clementine, noting that Winston’s cousin Sunny was preoccupied with the budget, predicted that “it will make politics very bitter for a long time.” Expecting their first child, Clementine and Winston prepared to move to a new house at 33 Eccleston Square in Pimlico. They took an 18-year lease at £195 per year.

In May, Winston participated in the annual camp of the Oxfordshire Yeomanry in the park at Blenheim. While the men camped the women were often entertained in the Palace, but Clementine declined to participate this year. Winston wrote his pregnant wife: “I don’t like your having to bear pain and face this ordeal. But we are in the grip of circumstances and out of pain joy will spring and from passing weakness new strengths arise.”

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