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Why Did the Labour Party Win Power in 1945 and Lose It in 1951 - Essay Example

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The Labour Party is one of the oldest political parties in the United Kingdom. Historians trace its origins back in the 19th century, at around 1865 when the party was first established…
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Why Did the Labour Party Win Power in 1945 and Lose It in 1951
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Why Did the Labour Party Win Power in 1945 and Lose It in 1951

Download file to see previous pages... The Labour Party was formed by the agreement of several labour unions to come together to form a political party. Back then, trade unions were powerful organizations and had the solid following of their members in order to push for their interests in one common and solid voice. The Labour Party has had its shares of success and failures since it was first established. The last prime minister representing the Labour Party was Gordon Brown, who took over from Tony Blair, also from the Labour Party in 2007 (Lynch 25-65, 2008). However, one of the most successful victories for the Labour Party in the history of UK elections was in 1945, when the party won its biggest majority, led by Clement Attlee, who was deputy prime minister under the coalition government headed by Winston Churchill. Winston Churchill was the conservative party head, and Prime Minister of Britain, and he was the one who led Britain to victory in the second world war that ended in 1942. Under these circumstances, it was expected that he would win another term as prime minister in the 1945 elections. However, this was not the case as was dictated by many factors. First, there was the intergenerational difference between the masses and the leaders in power. While the former was made of younger people, many of whom had served in the war, the latter was made up of a minority few of the older generation (Butler and Stokes 1-35, 1974). The older generation was outnumbered due to deaths, emigrations to other countries and resignations. In these circumstances, the masses felt that they were not well represented. The conservative party had a majority of this older generation, while the Labour Party’s leadership was made up of fairly younger people, whom the masses could identify with. This increased the Labour Party’s popularity leading to their landslide victory in 1945. Issues of class also had a hand in aiding the Labour Party win the 1945 elections. The post-second world war environment in Britain was such that majority of the people were trying to rebuild their lives by working in different places to make ends meet. Many of these people were labourers and had to work long hours in order to earn their living. The general feeling was that the then current government was not doing enough to expedite changes that could improve their lives (Heath, Jowell, and Curtice 12-58, 1985). Within this atmosphere, the Labour Party came up with a manifesto that promised to do all these and more for the people. Their campaigns were effective and the people decided to give them a chance, hence a majority voted for the Labour Party. Attlee is considered one of the Labour Party’s most significant figures, because he managed to steer England from more problems during the Second World War by stopping Churchill from carrying out some schemes considered wild and dangerous, both to the United Kingdom and its allies, as well as to its enemies. Attlee was prime minister of UK for 6 years, until 1951, when he lost in the general elections of 1951. However, in his time in office, Attlee affected a lot of changes in the social and economical environment in the UK. For instance, he nationalized many industries that had been privatized, making them out of reach for many regular citizens. These included the steel, electricity, gas, coal, wireless and cable services, aviation, and road and railway industries. Attlee was also the one responsible for nationalizing the Bank of England which still stands to date. Attlee introduced a national health scheme by the passing of the National ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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