THE MAN SPEAKER AND WRITER
If courage is the gift especially needed by politicians, the gift of speech, according to Lloyd George, came second: great doers were also great talkers, the strong, silent man was as extinct as the mastodon.
When Lloyd George entered the House of Commons he found there not only Gladstone, Joseph Chamberlain, Lord Randolph Churchill, Goschen, and Balfour among remarkable debaters, but a numerous company of gifted Irishmen such as Healy, Sexton, and Dillon. Of the Irishmen he put Healy first. He was fond of recounting an occasion when the Speaker having ruled that the question of Ireland could not be discussed, Healy succeeded in delivering an ironic speech as a native of Uganda--where a railway was projected--the real subject of which was Ireland.
Celts have practised the art of oratory from the earliest times, with the result that today they are not only good performers but good critics. The standard of public speaking in Wales, as in Ireland, is high, and it was the rich promise of his earliest efforts which first marked out the young Lloyd George as worthy to represent his people in Parliament. He rehearsed his early speeches before a mirror; he tried them out on his friends. He studied the art assiduously by listening to its living practitioners in his own country and reading the recorded speeches of the world's most famous orators.
Lloyd George retained the tone and rhythm and colour of his native speech throughout his life. He was a Welshman in England only less clearly than John Redmond or Tim Healy were Irishmen. The Celtic temperament was unmistakable. Salisbury and Asquith mirrored the mentality and reserve of Englishmen. Baldwin and MacDonald betrayed bardic strains of Highland origin. But these racial or tribal distinctions should not be pressed; Lloyd George transcended them, and was as gladly heard in England as in Wales and in Scotland. To establish immediate affinity with his listeners was natural to him; he developed a diversity of styles-- expository, persuasive, humorous, challenging, dramatic, violent
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Publication information: Book title: Lloyd George. Contributors: Thomas Jones - Author. Publisher: Harvard University Press. Place of publication: Cambridge. Publication year: 1951. Page number: 262.
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