First Labour Government (1924)

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  • Created on: 08-09-17 09:57
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  • First Labour Govt. (1924)
    • Aims
      • Official aims in 1918 constitution - pre-war views didn't reflect current view (more socialist, lacked national appeal)
      • MacDonald wanted people to see that Lab could handle important foreign & domestic issues. Wanted to Lab to be a more moderate party
        • Wanted to get world peace (esp. France & Germany), support LoN. Also deal with housing shortage, unemployment by reducing duties. Cost of living low so more trade & jobs
    • Foreign policy
      • Did not need approval of parliament for specific legislation. MacDonald was PM and foreign secretary
      • Supported Geneva protocol. drafted by former lab leader Henderson, made war illegal - use of an arbitrator to settle disputes. League to sanction countries that did not follow
      • Dawes plan - reparations to stop tension with France and Germany after occupation of Ruhr
      • Sanctions proved ineffective, Dawes plan did not survive economic crisis, but showed lab could take lead in world affairs.
      • Made treaty with USSR to help European reconciliation, criticized by libs and cons who disliked Communism and did not agree with a regime that killed tsar and wanted to spread revolution
    • In Britain
      • Unemployment insurance act raised benefits - uncoventanted benefits (not covered by NI) and dole (after unemployment insurance ceased)
      • Agricultural Act 1924 - ensured wages did not fall below min standard (until after WW2). Hadow report 1931 influential in different ability secondary schools (1944)
      • Housing Act by Wheatley made 521,000 council houses to be built at expense of defense and Singapore naval base
    • Fall
      • Incident after Government withdrew a prosecution made to the writer of Worker's Weekly (called for troops to refuse to act against striking workers)
        • Liberals called for investigation as political influence being used in law. MacDonald could have ignored this but decided to resign in debate if lost which he did
      • Forged letter from one of Russia's communist leaders, Zinoviev encouraging people to vote Labour - red scare
        • Supposed evidence was 'a socialist common wealth' in manifesto and Russian Treaty.
          • Choice of Lab/Con. lab increased popular vote but Cons got more seats


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