Carson: the man who divided Ireland

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Home Rule Crisis, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2005), Letters, Letters, Revolutionary Period 1912-23, Volume 13

Carson the man who divided Ireland 1Sir,—May I correct one factual error in the review of my book, Carson:the man who divided Ireland, by Mark Coalter in the last issue (HI13.5, Sept/Oct 2005)? The reviewer says he is confused about why Ishould consider Carson in 1922 should feel that the Conservative Party‘threw him over’ by making Bonar Law its leader. The passage inquestion  (p.231) reads:
‘He [Carson] saw how the treaty had done for ‘the little man’, as hecalled Lloyd George, and how the Conservatives (for it was now inapt tothe party ‘Unionist’) threw him over and installed Carson’s oldcomrade, Bonar Law, as leader and Prime Minister.’
I do not think that passage can be read in any other way other thanthat it was Lloyd George, and not Carson, who was thrown over by theConservatives, thus ending the long coalition led by Lloyd George. Itis also clear from the context that Carson could have had noconceivable hope or wish to lead the Conservatives in 1922. In anycase, the passage immediately following (p.232) makes clear that BonarLaw was the only member of the Conservative Party who remained faithfulto Carson and to Ulster. He was also the only senior figure in theparty to escape Carson’s bitter tongue in his maiden speech in theLords described on page 231 just before the passage I have quoted.Carson could have had no feeling of resentment at Bonar Law’s accessionto the leadership.—Yours etc.,


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