Why did Labour lose the election in 1970?

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  • Why did Labour lose the election in 1970?
    • Balance of payments
      • £400 million deficit and cycle of stop-go, manufacturing industries shrinking, service and finance expanding
        • might have been a good idea as the exchange rate in 1964, $2.80 to the £, was too high but Wilson desperate not to be seen as the party of devaluation – Attlee had to devalue in 1949.  Wanted policies for ECONOMIC GROWTH to catch up with foreign competitors 
    • Conservatives
      • Heath had greater strengths than accounted for. Conservatives ahead in opinion polls despite a rise in ratings for Labour in Spring of 1970.
        • It came a shock that Heath had better qualities than expected. He also had some good ideas: Rowe argues that: Heath was a formidable politician. PM with a clear and detailed programme of policies for the modernisation of Britain 
    • Trade Unions
      • Seaman’s and Dockers strikes, In Place of Strife 1969, humiliating climb down compromise with TUC
        • Highlights Labours weaknesses and failure to assert authority
    • Economy
      • National Plan (dropped 1967), creation of DEA (and subsequent failure 1966), growing inflation, rising unemployment
        • People judge strength of government on how well off they are at the time
    • EEC
      • Personal issues, devaluation and economic situation led to veto by De Gaulle
        • On basis of economics >damaged Labour’s credibility (‘pound in your pocket’ speech), despite Britain’s own lukewarm feelings


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