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The Divided Skirt
'The Divided Skirt', 1886. This cartoon shows the Liberal Prime Minister, Gladstone. Now 76 years of age, and in his third term in office, Gladstone was undoubtedly the grandee of the Commons. By now, he had been dubbed the 'Grand Old Man' by Henry Labouchere in 1881, and this had been shorted to GOM by many. He is fitting a decidedly matronly Britannia with her first divided skirt. This relates to one of Gladstone's first Bills on regaining office early 1886. However, the Irish Home Rule Bill was deeply divisive, even though it was apparently designed to settle all outstanding matters once and for all. It did lead to the resignation from the Cabinet of the Radical, Joseph Chamberlain who cited the blow to 'the security of the Empire' as his primary reason. From Punch, or the London Charivari, April 24, 1885.
- Image ref: 1150979
- The Print Collector / Heritage-Images