Lloyd George goes a-wooing versus Burns’s ‘vixens in velvet’
in Vanishing for the vote
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For his ambitious health insurance scheme, Lloyd George had to appease two vested interests: the medical profession and the insurance industry, with its army of agents going door-to-door each week collecting pence from working-class homes. The 70,000 insurance collectors even boasted their own National Union. When Lloyd George received their delegation, he found them a formidable lobby. He gave way on government help for widows and orphans. It was upon such family fears that agents’ jobs were based. The WFL kept a keen eye on Lloyd George. It sent a well-publicized letter to the Chancellor, asking about income tax on married women and new taxes on women land-owners. He prevaricated. Meanwhile, the WFL held its historic conference at Caxton Hall, with a briefing paper ‘Suffragist Resistance to the Census’. An impressive range of suffrage organizations sent delegates, including Fawcett's NUWSS and the Women's Co-operative Guild. The Pankhursts’ WSPU, however, was preoccupied elsewhere. Disappointed again by Asquith, it sent a prestigious delegation to the Commons: the police brutality it met dubbed it ‘Black Friday’. NUWSS watched, pessimistic that WSPU militancy would spoil its careful consensus-building. Would there still be wide suffrage support for the WFL's planned census boycott?

Vanishing for the vote

Suffrage, citizenship and the battle for the census


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