This is the season when the City of London annually celebrates in style the inauguration of its new Lord Mayor.
It has done so for many centuries and pantomimes have instilled the legend of the thrice elected Dick Whittington in the minds of millions. I’m sure many hundreds of thousands of babies (including my grandson) first saw the light in the hospital named after him.
It has long been the practice for The First Lord of The Treasury (aka The Prime Minister) to give a keynote speech
at the Lord Mayor’s Inaugural Dinner in the Mansion Mansion House, but I reckon Boris Johnson will be otherwise occupied this year.
So I’ll turn to the Ninth of November 1920 when the speech was given by David Lloyd George.The then Prime Minister held the unique distinction of being found guilty of murder by the jury of an inquest in the city of Cork. Not just the murder of any citizen, but of its First Citizen, Lord Mayor Tomas MacCurtain in March of that year. Inquests
were then suppressed by the British and Inquiries taken over by their military who were engaged in a murder campaign.
Not only were Crown Forces engaged in murder but in the wholesale destruction of homes and businesses, especially Co-operative Creameries which had brought prosperity and comfort to the first generation of the indigenous aborginal workers to own their own farms after the confiscations of centuries.
During the Great War British recruiting posters in Ireland depicted prosperous and comfortable farms and urged farmers’ sons to enlist under the Union Jack to keep Germans from arson, rape and pillage there.
The great organizer of the Co-Operatives was the Unionist Sir Horace Plunkett, and he publicly protested at the lawless rampage of the Crown Forces.
Terence MacSwiney had succeeded the murdered Tomas MacCurtain as Lord Mayor of Cork and had died after a long hunger strike in London’s Brixton Prison a fortnight before the Lord Mayor of London’s Banquet. Many Mayors of London boroughs, amongst them Clement Attlee, marched at his funeral.
Lloyd George in his speech praised the conduct of the Crown Forces, sneered at Sir Horace Plunkett, “who didn’t even speak for his own Creameries,” and boasted that his nocturnal assassination gangs had “murder by the throat.”
Perhaps I should explain that neither Lloyd George nor his Ministerial colleagues were found by the inquests to have held the gun which killed MacCurtain, but were the prime movers in the crime. Lloyd George has the reputation amongst B writers of being a physical coward. Churchill was found guilty of murder by the jury. But he was never a physical coward.