Rainbow Circle

The Rainbow Circle was a dining club which comprised a group of progressive politicians who met between 1894-1920.

Members included J A Hobson, Herbert Samuel, C P Trevelyan, Viscount Haldane and Graham Wallas. Ten of its 25 members were Liberals that had been elected in 1906, but the group was just as influential within socialist circles and included members of the Fabian Society and Independent Labour Party, such as Ramsay Macdonald.

The Rainbow Circle had a particular influence on the philosophy of New Liberalism and its desire to instigate a period of social reform. Herbert Samuel outlined the groups aims as the following:

‘to provide a rational and comprehensive view of political and social progress, leading up to a consistent body of political and economic doctrine which could be ultimately formulated in a programme of action and in that form provide a rallying point for social reformers.

It is proposed to deal with:

1) The reasons why the old philosophic radicalism and the Manchester school of economics can no longer furnish a ground of action in the political sphere

2) The transition from this school of thought to the so-called New Radicalism or collectivist politics of today

3) The bases, ethical and political, of the newer politics, together with the practical applications and inferences arising therein from the actual problems before us at the present time.’