Left Starts a Race Rumpus over Lloyd George Statue; Accusations: Harold Pinter

Daily Mail (London), October 25, 2007 | Go to article overview

Left Starts a Race Rumpus over Lloyd George Statue; Accusations: Harold Pinter


Byline: Jane Merrick

A NEW statue of former Prime Minister David Lloyd George was at thecentre of an extraordinary row last night amid allegations that he endorsed the'right to bomb niggers'.

The sculpture of the Liberal politician, viewed as one of the greatest premiersof the 20th century, will be unveiled by the Prince of Wales and Duchess ofCornwall in front of the Houses of Parliament today.

But Nobel Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter and a string of other anti-warcampaigners have condemned what they describe as the 'utterly disgraceful'commemoration of his legacy.

Pinter, the Left-wing journalist John Pilger and former UN humanitarianco-ordinator for Iraq Denis Halliday have called on Lloyd George not to behonoured with the statue because under his leadership Britain bombedAfghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Iran.

In a letter to today's Daily Telegraph, they also complain at his use of aphrase which apparently approved of 'reserving the right to bomb niggers'.

The meaning of the phrase is disputed because, although it was attributed toLloyd George, it was recorded in the 1934 diary of his second wife and formermistress Frances Stevenson.

Despite the use of the racist word, some believe it may have been an ironicdisapproval of Ramsay Macdonald's government's stance in armament talks at themodern politics, including as forefather League of Nations in 1932. At thetalks, Germany had called for an end to aerial bombardment during conflicts.But Britain had argued that this military option should be retained.

The letter says that under his premiership, which began during the First WorldWar in 1916 and ended in 1922, Britain used planes to bomb Afghanistan, Egypt,Iran and Iraq.

It adds: 'Today these vicious policies continue unabated. Thus, British warplanes dropped more bombs on Iraqi targets in July/August of this year than inthe whole of the previous three years.

'Meanwhile, British troops in Afghanistan have called in hundreds of U.S.airstrikes in recent months, contributing to the rapidly mounting civiliandeath toll.

'One recent survey estimated that roughly 116,000 Iraqis had been killed byaerial bombardment since the start of the 2003 invasion. All of which makestoday's celebration of George's legacy both highly topical and utterlydisgraceful. …

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