September 23, 1911, anonymously authored article in M.A.P.
Emily Davison’s cogent and passionate denunciation of Lloyd George’s duplicitous tactics is
embedded in a fragment of an article from M.A.P. It is included here because Davison saved
several copies of the fragment, and may have been justifiably proud of the way she identified
the twists and turns the Liberal government executed in its attempt to prevent a suffrage bill
from ever becoming law without actually acknowledging that failure was its goal.
Recently I asked Suffragists what grounds they had for describing Mr. Lloyd George as an
opponent of votes for women. Miss Emily Wilding Davison sends me a long letter on this
subject from which I quote the following:
“We account the Chancellor of the Exchequer as the most dangerous of our foes, for
the well-known reason that ‘he that is not for us is against us.’ Now, Mr. Lloyd George, with
all his glib assurances that he is in favour of Woman Suffrage, has never done one single
deed to prove his bona fides. More than this, he has even done several deeds which justify
our opinion of him.
“It was his treachery, and that of Mr. Winston Churchill, which killed last year’s
Conciliation Bill. If those two members of the Cabinet had not stood up and said that they
would not support the Bill because it was not sufficiently wide (i.e., because it was the first
Woman Suffrage Bill which had ever been seriously treated in the House of Commons), that
Bill would undoubtedly have gone to Grand Committee upstairs, and been passed. But their
bold treachery stiffened the backs of some of the waverers, who followed their lead.
“This convincing example of Mr. Lloyd George’s concealed desire to smash up every
chance of Woman Suffrage has been followed up by his subtle suggestion to the Liberal
Suffragists when they met in Committee recently, that they might try and commandeer Mr.
Asquith’s promise of facilities for a wider Suffrage Bill on Woman Suffrage, i.e., a Bill
doomed from the beginning.
“Finding that his ideas were not too favourably received, he changed them to the
tune of pushing forward the Conciliation Bill next session, and then widening (i.e., killing) it
by amendments. He even made the ‘slim’ [crafty] move of asserting that the facilities promised for
the Conciliation Bill could be deliberately stolen for any other Suffrage Bill which admitted
of amendent [sic] and received a Second Reading. In this misstatement, however, he had
gone too far, as was proved of course by Mr. Asquith’s explicit answer to Lord Lytton’s
challenge upon the point. The facilities are for the Conciliation Bill and another.
“With such a record against him is it likely that any Suffragist, who is politically
awake, could possibly regard Mr. Lloyd George as anything but a ravening wolf in sheep’s
clothing, especially in view of the fact that all the most genuine suffragists in the House of
Commons declare that the Conciliation Bill is the only one that has the remotest chance of
passing into law in the present House of Commons?”
[editor’s partial reply: Still, I do not see how the Chancellor can justly be called an
opponent of women’s suffrage. To be against a certain Bill dealing with women’s suffrage
does not mean that a man is against the principle of women’s suffrage. The fact is, that
most Suffragists are so anxious to see the thick end of the wedge—for the Conciliation
Bill is only the thin edge of the wedge—that they are apt to overlook the fact that the
Bill in question is eminently undemocratic and that it cannot appeal to people with the
democratic spirit strongly developed…]