This year’s Welsh Political Archive annual lecture was held on Tuesday 2nd November. Last year’s lecture had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 restrictions and replaced it with an online discussion panel, so Professor Paul O’Leary’s lecture was long awaited.
2020 was the first time in its history the lecture had to be postponed, and this year was the first time it was held outside Aberystwyth. The Senedd in Cardiff Bay was the venue for the 2021 lecture, entitled Lloyd George, Empire & the Making of Modern Ireland.
As Paul O’Leary noted Lloyd George had been active during his early career in campaigns for Welsh home rule and as chancellor had given financial support to the National Library. It was therefore fitting that the National Library should hold a lecture on Lloyd George at the Welsh Parliament.
Ireland had played a role in Lloyd George’s career since his election to the UK Parliament in 1890; he was passionate about home rule and was inspired by the Irish land agitators but the British Empire was central to his worldview. Paul O’Leary argued that while he sympathized with unionists in the north he believed that the United Kingdom was a nation of different nations but he did not see the countries of Britain, Wales, England Scotland and Ireland in the same way as the dominions such as Canada and Australia. Giving Ireland similar status was a step too far.
The Irish Consul General in Wales was watching the lecture remotely and the Llywydd of the Welsh Parliament, Elin Jones was in the audience.
The lecture was followed by interesting questions and a very useful discussion and a vote of thanks was offered by Dr Sam Blaxland, a member of the Welsh Political Archive Advisory Committee.
It is intended to publish on the pages of the Welsh Political Archive (along with previous lectures) on the Library’s website in the near future.
The Welsh Political Archive
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