‘Imagine the subject of balloons crops up,’ said the veteran Cabinet secretary Maurice Hankey, illustrating the difference between Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George. ‘Winston, without a blink, will give you a brilliant hour-long lecture on balloons. LG, even if he has never seen you before, will spend an hour finding out anything you know about them.’ According to this well-researched and entertainingly written book, Churchill and Lloyd George were very different people, whose famous friendship only ever mattered to them when they thought it suited them.
It was Alan Clark who wrote: ‘There are no true friends in politics. We are all sharks circling, and waiting, for traces of blood to appear in the water.’ But that was merely an elaboration upon Lloyd George’s oft-spoken remark, thought to have been first uttered by Gladstone, ‘There is