The Crisis of Labour and the Conservative Hegemony, 1929–1939

Ross McKibbin

in Parties and People

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199584697
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191702402 | DOI:
The Crisis of Labour and the Conservative Hegemony, 1929–1939

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Despite the Edwardian system's underlying instability and the corrosive effect of the First World War it had still not been completely destroyed by the end of the 1920s. The reformed Labour Party mobilized enough of the working-class vote to disrupt the system, but not enough to give the Party any real authority. The Conservative Party was recognizably the same; its leadership in fact almost identical. The Liberal Party hung on, recovery always (but not quite) around the corner, trapping much political talent that could have been put to better use. An attempt had been made to restore the pre-1914 economy. The Edwardian political economy therefore still stood, but shakily. In the 1930s, however, there was nothing provisional about England's political system and, unlike the 1920s, it represented economic and social reality. This chapter explains how this happened by examining the origins and consequences of the 1931 crisis — the financial crisis of August 1931 which felled the second Labour government (1929–31) and brought to power a National government dominated by the Conservatives.

Keywords: British politics; Labour Party; Conservative Party; 1931 financial crisis

Chapter.  14575 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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