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A Liberal tragedy

Herbert Asquith mismanaged Ireland and sleepwalked into world war. Little wonder his centenary is neglected

By Andrew Adonis   April 2008

April 8th marks the centenary of the start of the Asquith government and one of the 20th century’s longest premierships. That this has gone unremarked may reflect the reserved character of Herbert Henry Asquith himself. But the neglect is not solely the result of an unassuming prime minister, or the Attlee government would be the least remembered in history. It also reflects the ambivalence with which liberals look back on a government which, for all its success in launching the modern welfare state, was in much else a saga of missed chances and, in Irish and European policy, of catastrophic…

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