Why did the conservatives remain in power 1951?

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Why did the conservatives remain in power 19511964?
The end of World War Two brought about a new era of revolution in the structure of Great Britain
which swept Atlee and the labour party to power. Then came the introducing a stronger welfare
system with the NHS as the governments flagship policy. Voters thought labour the better party to
deal with domestic issues such as housing and, health care and establishing full employment. The
Conservative party still held the association with the Great Depression with the 1930s that had
brought about mass unemployment and austerity for the masses. The Conservatives in 1945 had a
steep mountain to climb, as they needed to gain back 146 constituencies. After the elections of
1950, labour's majority had been reduced to a mere 5 seats, and continual challenging of Atlee's
government until an election in 1951 swept the Tories to power. Economic growth in the post war
years, stigma against the labour party and a lucky electoral trade cycle ensured the conservatives
continual office, along with political strengths presented by RA Butler and Lord Woolton. The social
issues faced by Britain which had been so at the forefront of labour policy were also on the agenda,
with an ambitious pledge of three hundred new homes to be built a year. The combination of several
factors ensured the Tory dominance over the thirteen year period.
The Conservatives over their thirteen year office were fortunate for a number of reasons with the
economic they were faced with. The Cabinet was immediately met with the problems of the Korean
War and how to manage expenditure in 1951. However, economic growth in these years marked
by the end of the Korean War helped ensure reelection, as this meant a more affluent nation which
could move on from the stereotype of post war rationing. The health of the economy was said to be
down to RA Butler, who served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer from 195155. He was able to
reduce taxes and increase spending on welfare which kept voters satisfied due to the increased
quality of care in the NHS, this working hand in hand with the tax cuts meaning voters had deeper
pockets during the period. The age of affluence from austerity was marked by Churchill's ending of
The Suez crisis brought with it the removal of Eden from office and the promotion of Macmillan, this
a major factor why the Tories kept in power. The outspoken politician declared in July 1957 that
`most of our people have never had it so good', this showing how the economic climate and the age
of post war affluence had lifted the conservatives to remain in power. Even though here he was
warning that high standards of living, full employment and low inflation rates were not sustainable.
Here is where the Tories were cunning, due to the fact that it was accepted by the Cabinet that the
age of affluence could be coming to an end in 1958. Thorneycroft resigned over his plan of a £50
million cut to the budget in order to deflate the economy was scrapped. However, the luck was in
the favour of the government as the feeling of continual wealth still engulfed the country, enough so
that a clever campaign led by Macmillan under the name `Supermac' could carry them through the
1959 election. The Conservatives in this period between 195163 saw wages rise by an average of
72% while prices rose a mere 45%. Consumer goods purchases rose and the average working
week dropped from 48 hours to 42 hours. All these economic factors were key in the reelection of
the Tories.

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Other important political factors were crucial in the Conservatives stand in office. There was a
consensus between one nation Conservatism and the right wing of the Labour party, this known as
Butskellism. In essence, this means that the Conservatives embraced welfare reforms introduced by
Atlee after the war such as the introduction of the NHS, even though on principal they were
opposed to them. However, they saw as they rebuilt their party that the policy was highly popular
amongst voters, so the policy stuck.…read more


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