Threats to the liberal party 1865-1901

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  • Created by: aggy98
  • Created on: 16-12-15 11:15
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  • Threats to the liberal party 1865-1901
    • Lack of strong leadership for the liberals
      • After Gladstone resigned and Lord Rosebury became leader of the party, the lack of political experience and skill was clear, as they were unable to present a cohesive and united party in order to gain votes back from the conservatives.
      • Gladstone himself, while a strong leader, was too pre-occupied with Ireland and the issue of home rule to present a strong social reform programme, which their working class supporters wanted.
    • Conservative strength
      • Under Disraeli, it could be argued that the conservatives were almost re branded, with Disraeli announced his three principles of one nation conservatism or tory democracy at his speeches in 1872. These ideals appealed to a broad electorate.
        • They realised the need to appeal to the working classes- salisbury continued disraeli's work e.g. through the local government act of 1882.
      • Salisbury continued the electoral organisation started by Disraeli who appointed John Gorst as head of the conservastive central office. Salisbury appointed Middleton- link to grass roots political support.
        • Change in support in London demonstrates the extent to which the conservatives broadened their appeal. 1865- 0 seats. 1895- 67 out of 75 seats.
          • Conservative strength
            • Under Disraeli, it could be argued that the conservatives were almost re branded, with Disraeli announced his three principles of one nation conservatism or tory democracy at his speeches in 1872. These ideals appealed to a broad electorate.
              • They realised the need to appeal to the working classes- salisbury continued disraeli's work e.g. through the local government act of 1882.
            • Salisbury continued the electoral organisation started by Disraeli who appointed John Gorst as head of the conservastive central office. Salisbury appointed Middleton- link to grass roots political support.
              • Change in support in London demonstrates the extent to which the conservatives broadened their appeal. 1865- 0 seats. 1895- 67 out of 75 seats.
      • Lack of unity within the liberal party
        • The party was highly divided over the issue of how much social reform to support. Joseph Chamberlain- a prominent radical- released the unoffical programme in 1885, which can be argued to have resulted in the liberal election victory of 86.
          • However Gladstone did not support his ideas and the public soon turned against the liberals who simply did no offer a united front when it came to social reform.
        • The party had, some would argue, been irreparably split over the issue of home rule in 1880- this split then served to highlight over big issue which they did not agree on. perhaps this was inevitable when you had a party made of so many different groups- impossible to please everyone :)
      • Economic changes
        • During Gladstone's first ministry, the country fell into a depression during which coal and iron production fell by around 30%.
        • Britain had previously been the world leaders in exported goods, leading to a long period of prosperity. However, around the end of Gladstone's ministry, competition from America and Germany was increasing and the policy of free trade- which meant an absence of tariffs- was blamed by many for the struggle to achieve as much profit.
        • Saul does argue though that there was a rise in real wages and not really a depression at all.
      • Rise of the labour movement
        • There was a growing membership of mass unions inthe 1870's and 1880's, leading to working classes becomind more determined to have their own political voice.
        • They were a big threat to the liberal party for many reasons, one of which is that the liberal party had relied on getting at least 2/3rds of the working class vote- which now turned to labour, leaving them high and dry.
        • In 1900, the labour representation committee was set up -from this point labour just kept building up the support it had started to gain in the 1870's/80's. They are likely to have been able to capitalise on the divise nature of the liberal party and the lack of willingness of Salisbury to take reform too far, although he did do quite abit.

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