Slides in this set
The failings of Labour.
Labour was a minority government and depended on most of the liberal
votes, and therefore it was hard for them to introduce new policies such as
nationalisation and disarmament. This therefore was an obvious
disadvantage of Labour's government as they could only peruse moderate
policies. Moreover this meant that their policies were not that different from
the Liberals government. In addition, if the Conservative or Liberals thought
that Labour was doing anything `unacceptable' they could be voted out.
This therefore could be seen as one failing of Labour, as they were not able
to fulfil or even propose their own policies but instead `copied' the liberals.
This meant that the Labour government offered no new fresh ideas which
highlighted them as being a minority and perhaps `unsuccessful' government.…read more
The Failings of Labour
Labour was highly dependent on Trade Unions as they provided funds and votes
for their party which meant Labour could not break it's ties with the trade unions
without risking never being able to be in power. However, this `bond' meant that
the unions expected to be able to control certain aspects within the party so that
it benefited the trade unions members, which caused a significant amount of
Eventually the trade unions began to criticise Labour for it's dependence on
Liberal Support and policies. This friction soon lead to the Docker's strike.
The Docker's strike was organised by Ernest Bevin who was a general secretary
for Transport and the General Worker's union. The Docker's strike was a demand
for an extra two shillings a day which ended up being very successful for the
unions. Because of it's clear success, London Transport Workers also decided to
strike and this situation resulted in MacDonald proclaiming "a state of
The strikes were very embarrassing for Labour's government and left the
relationship between labour and Trade Unionist's very strained.
In addition, people felt that Labour wasn't a party that represented the whole a
nation or a cross section, but only the trade unions, which half of the working
force belonged to.…read more
The Failings of Labour
During Labour's reign, they were unfortunate enough to have to face and deal
with serious economic problems.
Over 1 million people were unemployed in 1924 and there was the world
economic crisis in 1930-1. Labour's only answer was nationalisation, but this
was out of the question as they were not powerful enough to introduce that
idea. Therefore Labour had no answer to solve the economic crisis with, which
left them looking politically weak.
In addition, many people wanted MacDonald to introduce genuinely left
policies. Scottish MPs and the ILP (independent labour party) were keen on
MacDonald bringing in genuine socialist measures which would give Labour a
chance to appeal to electorate.
However, MacDonald had "no intention of attempting such heroics" (Norman
Lowe) as he preferred to use moderate policies to gain the confidence of his
The Fall of Labour
The Campbell Case
Campbell who was an editor of a left-wing newspaper, published an
article that urged troops not to fire on their workers in the event of a
strike. Labour withdrew prosecutions against Campbell which left a lot
of speculation within Labour. MacDonald already had relations with
Russia, and the Campbell situation alarmed both liberals and
conservatives, and both party's accused Labour of being sympathetic
The liberal party demanded an inquiry into the matter and was carried
out by 364 votes for to `98 against. Macdonald took this vote as a lack
of confidence and resigned which was considered political suicide.…read more