Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Clan is Tim. Do we?

While I was staying in north Wales, I visited the village of Llanystumdwy (the headline on this posting is the closest phonetic spelling I can provide.

In many respects it's a typical Welsh village, fairly pretty but not especially noteworthy, apart from one thing: it was the boyhood home of David Lloyd George.

This makes it a special place for anyone with an interest in Liberal history. Lloyd George is one of the greatest Liberals of all time and still an inspiration for many of us today.

The Lloyd George museum in the village is a fascinating place. It has friendly, knowledgeable staff who go out of their way to make you feel welcome. And even if you think you know a lot about the Welsh Wizard, you're sure to find out things you didn't know about him: for instance, I was unaware of the extent of his support for a Jewish homeland. I was also ignorant of his calls for agricultural innovation, based on his own experiences of farming during the 1930s.

It's also fairly interesting to see inside the cottage where Lloyd George spent his formative years. And to complete the experience, his grave is situated just behind the museum. This is in a peaceful spot overlooking the river, fairly modest but somehow moving.

This is a good time for anyone with a interest in Lloyd George or in the achievements of the Liberal government of a century ago to visit. This year is the centenary of Lloyd George's introduction of old age pensions, next year the centenary of the People's Budget and 2011 is the hundredth anniversary of the National Insurance Act. A visit to the museum should act as an inspiration for liberals to try and emulate some of those great achievements.

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