Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society, in an historical piece for the Society’s Gilbert Magazine, May-June 2016:
It is commonly thought that [G. K.] Chesterton was fired from the Daily News for raising his voice against the Liberal Party, but the fact is he quit, and his leaving the Daily News was itself news. But even before he quit, we can see a change in tone during the last months of his tenure there, especially when he devotes one of this columns to an open letter to the Liberal Party. In it, he confesses that for the first time since he started writing for the paper, he is not enjoying himself. He admits that he has been a Liberal “since shortly before I was born” because the party represented freedom and democracy. He could see, however, that it was clearly acting in the direct opposite of those ideals. Before the straw that breaks the camel’s back, there is a penultimate straw that does severe spinal damage. For Chesterton it is the compulsory Insurance Act , and the fact that the paper calls someone who opposes the act an “anarchist.” Chesterton has already spoken out against the problems posed by compulsory health insurance: the rise in the power of the medical establishment joined at the hip with government, the looming threat of eugenics and, with it, infanticide, the messing with marriage, the manipulation of the working class, and above all, the helplessness of the citizen to do anything about it: “The broad, brutal fact about the capitalist State in which we live is in two parts: First, that we are all servants; second, that we know less and less whom we are serving.” And: “It used to be the weak things that hid themselves, now it is the strong things that hide.”
Historical notes: Chesterton’s last piece for the Daily News was in February 1913. The paper itself was merged into the News Chronicle in 1930, which in turn was absorbed by the Daily Mail in 1960.
Britain’s Liberal Party and Social Democratic Party merged in 1988 to form the current Liberal Democratic Party; a new Liberal Party rose the next year, but holds no seats in Parliament at this time.
The National Insurance Act, never really as “national” as it was billed to be, was eventually repealed; however, many of its ideas would rematerialize with the founding of the National Health Service in 1948.