Haldane: The Life of Viscount Haldane of Cloan, K.T., O.M

By Frederick Maurice | Go to book overview

Chapter VIII
A LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION--THE GENERAL STRIKE 1925 to 1926

It had been Haldane's practice to dictate from time to time notes of his impressions of the men and events of his time obviously intended to guide his biographer. When he got away to Cloan after the fall of the Labour Government he added to these, and in one dated January 16, 1925, he concluded:

' Ramsay Macdonald was a man of remarkable ability. He travelled so much and had seen so many foreigners that he had acquired that rare gift--an International Mind--and in the Foreign Office and in his general conduct of affairs he inspired foreigners with the sense that he understood them as his predecessors had not done. He was not passionately devoted to the details of his office in the way that was my old and intimate friend Edward Grey, who in character, sincerity, industry in his office, and in dignity, was almost a unique figure, but Ramsay Macdonald understood the Continent as none of his predecessors had done and the results have been good. Where he failed with his Ministry was in this that he did not care about other matters. He left them to us with the result that they seemed not to have the attention of the Prime Minister.

'I think he could have done the work he set himself to do in foreign affairs as well as that at home, but he did not do it and the result was that the Labour Government of 1924 went

-180-

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