Conservative Decline and the Rise of New Labour - Politics (AQA compete notes 13/16)

These notes are for the 'Making of Modern Britain' course on AQA and as such follow the spec, although would be useful for all modern britian courses. They contain hystoriography, detail and explanations. 

The notes are devided into the sections of the spec, therefore there are 16 documents (as there are 4 areas (politics, economics, society, and foriegn policy) and there are 4 periods (Post war, Wilson + heath, Thatcher, and Blair)). 

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Conservative
Decline
and
the
Rise
of
`New
Labour',
1990-2007
-
Politics
The
leadership
of
Major
and
growing
internal
divisions
in
the
Conservative
party
after
1992;
the
revival
of
Labour
under
Kinnock,
Smith
and
Blair;
the
reasons
for
Labour's
victory
in
1997;
and
the
subsequent
victories,
2001
and
2005
John
Major
1990-1992
Background
- Working
class
childhood
- Went
to
grammar
school,
but
did
poorly.
- Had
grown
up
in
a
shabby
terrace
in
Brixton,
London.
- Had
not
been
to
university
o Only
other
was
Callaghan.
- 47
years
old
- In
parliament
for
only
11
years
- Only
3
year
Cabinet
experience
- Wasn't
very
ruthless.
- Far
less
of
Thatcherite
than
anyone
realised
and
less
so
than
she
thought.
o Disliked
Adam
Smith
Institute
and
No
Turning
Back
Group
(right-
wing
think
tanks).
Political
strategy
- He
tried
to
unify
and
balance
the
party.
- His
cabinet
kept
some
previous
men
of
Thatcher's
time,
and
brought
in
some
new
people.
o Keep:
Ken
Clarke
and
Douglas
Hurd
o New:
Norman
Lamont
became
Chancellor,
and
later
got
Heseltine
as
Environment
Minister.
o Initially,
the
Cabinet
contained
the
same
people
(even
Margret
Thatcher)
(with
exception
of
Cecil
Parkinson).
- In
the
cabinet
room
he
wouldn't
finish
a
meeting
without
everyone
having
spoken.
Why
Major
became
leader?
- He
wasn't
Heseltine.
o Many
in
the
parliamentary
party
didn't
like
Heseltine.
They
thought
him
a
destructive,
flamboyant
and
arrogant
personality.
o Marr
argues
that
this
was
the
main
reason
for
Major's
election.
o Bogdanor
`he
won
as
much
for
who
he
wasn't
than
who
he
was'.
- He
was
decent
and
genuinely
believed
in
consensus.
o He
wouldn't
end
Cabinet
meetings
until
everyone
had
been
given
the
opportunity
to
speak.
- Major
was
had
some
experience
in
the
two
main
offices
­
Foreign
and
Chancellor
of
the
Exchequer.

Other pages in this set

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It
was
a
rapid
rise
­
sixteenth
months
earlier
he
had
been
Chief
Secretary
to
the
Treasury,
so
not
long
in
each
place.
o Clarke
has
argued
that
Major
wasn't
groomed
for
the
role
­
he
claims
that
Major
stumbled
into
it.
- He
had
remained
quiet
during
the
days
in
November
which
had
resulted
in
her
resignation.
(Wisdom
teeth
removal.)
o Meant
that
he
didn't
get
caught
up
in
the
power
politics
­
he
wasn't
associated
with
the
betrayal
of
Thatcher.…read more

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He
claimed
a
victory
for
Britain
over
negotiations
­
but
it
was
a
hollow
one.
Social
Policy
moves
- 1990
Employment
Act
o An
Act
to
make
it
unlawful
to
refuse
employment,
or
any
service
of
an
employment
agency,
on
grounds
related
to
trade
union
membership;
to
amend
the
law
relating
to
industrial
action
and
ballots.
- 1991
November
scrapped
the
Poll
Tax
o It
was
an
admission
that
the
policy
to
reform
the
rates
had
failed.…read more

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Historiography
- Marr
says
the
main
reason
major
won
the
Conservative
leadership
was
because
he
wasn't
Heseltine
or
the
other
one.
- John
Keegan
says
that
Major
was
`the
dreariest
Prime
Minister
of
the
post
war
period'.
Opposition
Labour
- Labour
was
doing
much
better
than
it
had
at
any
point
since
1974.
- Kinnock
was
very
popular
following
a
speech
at
the
Labour
Party
conference
where
he
openly
criticized
`Militant
Tendency'
and
the
problems
they
caused
in
Liverpool.…read more

Page 5

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Political
strategy
- Tried
to
keep
the
party
together,
due
to
very
small
majority.
o The
Conservatives
received
over
14
million
votes
­
their
highest
ever
­
but
had
a
majority
of
21.
- He
found
himself
overcome
by
three
issues
which
got
in
the
way:
o Europe
and
Maastricht
ratification
o Bringing
the
recession
to
an
end.
o Sleaze
Why
did
he
win
the
election?
- Major
seemed
more
credible
as
a
national
leader
than
Kinnock.…read more

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Thatcher
had
gone,
which
made
the
conservatives
more
likeable,
it
also
meant
her
very
unpopular
policies,
such
as
the
Poll
Tax,
had
also
gone.
Northern
Ireland
- 1991
IRA
rocket
was
fired
at
Downing
Street
during
a
cabinet
meeting.
- Secret
correspondence
from
Sinn
Fein
to
Downing
Street
began
around
1993,
suggesting
an
end
to
the
conflict.
- Major
had
a
good
working
relationship
with
the
Irish
Prime
Minister
Albert
Reynolds,
which
contributed
towards
the
process.…read more

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Honoured
election
pledge
to
give
above
inflation
increase
to
NHS
spending.
o Reforms
were
unpopular.
! Seemed
to
cost
lots
of
money
for
bureaucrats
without
raising
care
and
reducing
waiting
times.
o Many
hospitals
closed
down.
o Introduced
GP
fund
holding
and
patient
choice.
o Reduced
hospital
waiting
lists.
- Education
o All
three
Education
sectaries
were
from
Public
schools
and
Oxbridge,
and
often
were
in
charge
of
education
and
something
else.
! D.
Childs
says
this
shows
Major
didn't
know
what
he
was
doing.…read more

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The
ERM
fiasco
of
September
1992
had
not
calmed
the
fears
of
many
in
both
parties
over
Europe.
Many
in
the
Tory
and
in
the
Labour
Party
were
concerned
with
the
increased
possibility
of
loss
of
sovereignty.
- July
1993
­
there
was
a
Euro-rebellion
by
the
Euro-rebels
in
the
Commons
against
the
ratification
of
the
treaty.
It
defeated
a
key
aspect
of
the
Bill,
which
needed
to
pass
for
the
treaty
to
come
into
effect
in
November
1993.…read more

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Major
may
have
offered
Heseltine
the
deputy
leadership
in
order
to
get
him
on
side,
as
he
then
supported
Major
strongly.
o Many
speculated
Portillo
would
run,
but
he
didn't
so
therefore
John
Redwood
was
the
best
going.
- The
win
led
to
a
cabinet
reshuffle,
but
there
remained
a
mix.
Blair's
pro-Europe
Labour
(Contrast)
o Given
the
hostile
stance
in
the
1970s
and
1980s,
this
was
seen
by
many
to
be
opportunistic.…read more

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Even
well
known
conservatives
lost
their
seats,
including
Michael
Portillo,
David
Mellor,
Norman
Lamont
and
Malcom
Rifkind.
- Neil
Hamilton
was
beaten
by
BBC
correspondent
Martin
Bell,
who
was
standing
as
an
independent.
Historiography
- Hennessy
o Major's
victory
in
1992
was
a
personal
and
political
triumph
in
some
respects.
He
calls
it
a
`spectacular
and
unexpected
victory.'
- Blair
o Blair
argued
that
Labour
wasn't
quite
ready
and
even
argues
that
Thatcher
could
even
have
won
in
1992.
- A.…read more

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