Thursday, 11 February 2010

'Britain for the British' Tory claim..

The big Southport Lib Dem dinner on Saturday night will commemorate the first of the two 1910 elections and our eminent speaker will concentrate on the campaign in Southport. Over the last few weeks I've tried to fill in a bit of the back ground and the national context. It is time to sum up

The Liberal History Group has some excellent stuff on it's website and I reprint some below but I do urge you all to visit their site for more information. Here is the first snippet:

'The Liberal government of 1906-15, under Prime Ministers Campbell-Bannerman and Asquith, proved to be one of the great reforming administrations of the twentieth century. Led by towering figures such as Asquith, Lloyd George and Churchill, it broke the power of the House of Lords and laid the foundations of the modern welfare state. Labour exchanges were introduced, old age pensions were paid by the state for the first time, and the national insurance system was created - all with the aim of removing the shackles of poverty, unemployment and ill-health so as to allow people to exercise choice and realise opportunity.

From the outset the Liberals had difficulty with passing legislation through the House of Lords, which was still dominated by the Conservatives. The crunch came when the peers rejected Lloyd George's 1909 People's Budget, which introduced a
supertax on high earners, and taxation of land values, to raise revenue for social expenditure and naval rearmament. The battle with the House of Lords was one of the defining points of twentieth-century British politics. Two elections were fought in 1910 on the issue of peers versus people; in both, the Liberals triumphed but lost their overall majority and were able to form governments only with the assistance of Labour and Irish Nationalist MPs. In 1911, with the King primed to create hundreds of new Liberal peers if necessary, the Lords capitulated and the primacy of the House of Commons was definitively established.'

We also need to add to the mix the impact of religious conviction/prejudice. The Liberal candidate was of Jewish dissent and a Catholic. The Tories played the 'race card' see the insert on the right. Funnily it is not that long ago that a Tory backbencher upset by the number od Jewish people in the Thatcher government called for more ''thoroughbred /true blooded englishmen to be promoted'.

This is also the era of the campaign for Votes for Women which was never far from the front pages and moves to introduce temperance legislation

Tickets from Rachel on 01704 533555

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