E. T. JOHN AND WELSH HOME RULE, 1910-14 The impression is all too often given that the years between the collapse of the Cymru Fydd movement in the 1890s and the birth of Plaid Genedlaethol Cymru in 1925 was a barren and uneventful period as far as the fortunes of Welsh nationalism are concerned. Yet during the exciting hiatus between the two general elections which took place in 1910, the latent cause of Welsh home rule was unexpectedly given a more prominent place in Welsh political life. In what has been described as a 'Second Welsh home rule movement',1 Edward Thomas John, a native of Pontypridd in Glamorgan who had spent more than thirty years in the commercial and industrial life of Middles- brough, and who was to serve as the Liberal M.P. for East Denbighshire from December 1910 until 1918, had initiated a personal campaign of lectures, pamphlets and articles. These not only reflected the fervent and passionate idealism of Cymru Fydd; they attempted to set out an economic blueprint for Welsh self-government. John's first intervention in Welsh political life occurred at a time of acute political crisis for the Westminster Parliament. In November 1909 the Lords had rejected Lloyd George's Budget, an act which led to the calling of a general election in January 1910, as a result of which the Liberal government hoped that the Lords' veto might be challenged. In the event, the Liberal dilemma was intensified when the government was returned to power with a majority over the Unionists of only two seats and was thus made dependent upon its Labour and Irish colleagues for an effective majority in the House of Commons. This position of weakness ultimately brought about the for- mation of a Liberal-Irish entente in the following April, when it was agreed to pursue both the Lords' veto and Irish home rule.2 The opportunity was not lost upon the Welsh Members. As Walter F. Roch, the Liberal M.P. for Pembroke, wrote to his colleague for the Eifion division of Caernarfon, Ellis W. Davies, when the election results were known, Things have worked out in a very curious way. What an opportunity if only there was anything (even a pretence) of a Welsh party'. The sudden death of Edward VII in May and the accession of the inexperienced George V led to fears in some quarters that the constitutional powers of the monarchy might be wielded injudiciously. Under these pressures, the Liberal government agreed to participate in an inter-party Kenneth O. Morgan, Wales in British politics, 1868-1922 (Cardiff, 3rd ed., 1980), pp. 255-59. 2 J. D. Fair, British Interparty Conferences (Oxford, 1980), pp. 79-82. 3 N.L.W., Ellis W. Davies papers 17/5: Walter F. Roch to Ellis W. Davies, 29 January 1910.