‘There were more similarities than differences.’ Assess the validity of this view of the domestic policies of the Conservative and Labour parties in the years 1951 to 1970. (45 marks)

‘There were more similarities than differences.’ Assess the validity of this view of the domestic policies of the Conservative and Labour parties in the years 1951 to 1970. (45 marks)

Similarities

  • The underlying principles of a comprehensive welfare state survived. Labours welfare reforms especially the NHS were very popular and the conservatives had changed their hostile view towards the welfare state.
  • both sides were committed to full employment and believed in Keynesian methods – Butskellism. The bitter memories of the 1930's had been a key issue of the 1945 labour landslide. Conservatives were very anxious to avoid being seen as the 'party of mass unemployment'.
  • Both sides accepted a 'mixed economy' – not all-out socialism from Labour and, despite the denationalisation of steel and road transport in 1951, the Conservatives left other nationalisations alone and moved nearer to a planned economy.
  • both parties tried to increase investment, improve productivity and competitiveness and modernise the British economy. There was a desperate need for housing development after the war. From 1951, the conservative government ambitiously set a target of building 300,000 new homes every year.
  • both sides were committed to the expansion of education.
  • both sought social peace by controlling the Trade Unions.  (Even Labour tried to restrict freedoms – 'In Place of Strife').
  • attempts to join Europe were made in 1963 by Conservatives and 1967 by Labour (although there was some Labour opposition).
  • both parties shared similar restrictive immigration policies in 1960s.
  • attitudes to Ireland were similar (and this could be, but does not need to be, included as an aspect of domestic policy).

Differences

  • differences of ideology which brought differences re taxation and spending priorities, e.g. welfare, housing and military expenditure.
  • Wilson's government introduced distinctive liberalising legislation – Abortion Act, Sexual Offences Act, Theatres Act, Abolition of Death Penalty.
  • the parties took a slightly different approach to Race Relations with Labour setting up the Race Relations Board.
  • Labour's emphasis on Comprehensive Schools (although continued by Thatcher as Minister for Education) and new university expansion was different from the traditional Tory approach.
  • some of the Labour Party opposed nuclear weapons.
  • Labour challenged the Tory Establishment and emphasised that policies would be shaped by the 'white heat' of Science and Technology from 1964.

Overall comparison

Both parties followed similar policies, in part due to their political consensus but they also naturally coincided with each other because both parties knew what was best for Britain at that time. However even though they both strived for the same future prosperous post-war Britain, there were always some differences in approach to these domestic policies as the two parties are still fundamentally different.

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‘There were more similarities than differences.’ Assess the validity of this view of the domestic policies of the Conservative and Labour parties in the years 1951 to 1970. (45 marks)

‘There were more similarities than differences.’ Assess the validity of this view of the domestic policies of the Conservative and Labour parties in the years 1951 to 1970. (45 marks)

Similarities

  • The underlying principles of a comprehensive welfare state survived. Labours welfare reforms especially the NHS were very popular and the conservatives had changed their hostile view towards the welfare state.
  • both sides were committed to full employment and believed in Keynesian methods – Butskellism. The bitter memories of the 1930's had been a key issue of the 1945 labour landslide. Conservatives were very anxious to avoid being seen as the 'party of mass unemployment'.
  • Both sides accepted a 'mixed economy' – not all-out socialism from Labour and, despite the denationalisation of steel and road transport in 1951, the Conservatives left other nationalisations alone and moved nearer to a planned economy.
  • both parties tried to increase investment, improve productivity and competitiveness and modernise the British economy. There was a desperate need for housing development after the war. From 1951, the conservative government ambitiously set a target of building 300,000 new homes every year.
  • both sides were committed to the expansion of education.
  • both sought social peace by controlling the Trade Unions.  (Even Labour tried to restrict freedoms – 'In Place of Strife').
  • attempts to join Europe were made in 1963 by Conservatives and 1967 by Labour (although there was some Labour opposition).
  • both parties shared similar restrictive immigration policies in 1960s.
  • attitudes to Ireland were similar (and this could be, but does not need to be, included as an aspect of domestic policy).

Differences

  • differences of ideology which brought differences re taxation and spending priorities, e.g. welfare, housing and military expenditure.
  • Wilson's government introduced distinctive liberalising legislation – Abortion Act, Sexual Offences Act, Theatres Act, Abolition of Death Penalty.
  • the parties took a slightly different approach to Race Relations with Labour setting up the Race Relations Board.
  • Labour's emphasis on Comprehensive Schools (although continued by Thatcher as Minister for Education) and new university expansion was different from the traditional Tory approach.
  • some of the Labour Party opposed nuclear weapons.
  • Labour challenged the Tory Establishment and emphasised that policies would be shaped by the 'white heat' of Science and Technology from 1964.

Overall comparison

Both parties followed similar policies, in part due to their political consensus but they also naturally coincided with each other because both parties knew what was best for Britain at that time. However even though they both strived for the same future prosperous post-war Britain, there were always some differences in approach to these domestic policies as the two parties are still fundamentally different.

Comments

No comments have yet been made