Britain - 1951-1979

  • Created by: RebCol
  • Created on: 30-05-19 16:20

Politics in 1951

End of labour – they had achieved all promises in the 1945 election manifesto. Legacy included the welfare state, nationalisation, nhs

Two party electoral system: labour and conservatives have almost total dominance partly due to the FPTP + insignificance of liberals, lack of parliamentary support of nationalists

Rise of consensus politics: difference between the two major parties was narrow. Labour moderate and patriotic and conservatives were reformists keen to build on national cooperation to maintain post war consensus.

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Economy in 1951

Difficulties: damaged infrastructure, massive debts, pre-war markets lost, old staple industries in decline, Britain reliant on US to begin economic recovery, key industries(coal, steel, rail) had been nationalist by Attlee, consumer goods expensive and scarce, rationing only just coming to an end. Britain moving down the table of the world economy- economic growth slower than competitors

Optimism: still one of the leading economic powers in the world, british companies at the front of key sectors. Other European competitors had suffered more during the war. Living standards were rising, people better dressed, owned more consumer goods.

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Society in 1951

Most towns and cities dominated by heavy industry, female employment restricted to mainly single woman and shortage of consumer goods. Sense of national unity due to war but class divisions remained clear but social mobility had increased.

North-south divide clear with the establishment dominating public life.

Property owning middle class lived in the suburbs voting conservative

Areas of heavy industry saw working class living in urban areas close to factories, loyal to trade unions voted labour

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Foreign policies in 1951

Deceptive position in the world: still a world power, part of grand alliance that had won the war, pride of war victory amongst public, possession of a great empire, permanent member of the un, key ally to us in the cold war, vast stretch of navy, independent nuclear power, British expectation to remain at the top table of international affairs

Reality: emerged from war weakened, role as colonial power declining(India’s withdrawal in 1947), militarily and economically overstretched

1951 should’ve scaled down military, missed out on the EEC

Decisions that had consequences: go ahead with independent nuclear deterrent, stand aside from the formation of the EEC

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Politics 1951-1964

Results were close.

Reasons for conservative success:

Attlee’s government was worn down, industrial concerns, Korean war, bevanite rebellion. 1951 was the end of austerity

Themes continued due to post war consensus: mixed economy, full employment, trader unions, welfare state

1955 election reasons for tories power: give-away budget, affluence, election immediately after Churchill retired, support of press, continued splits within labour

Eden: suez crisis (1956) military operation stopped. Outcomes: political crisis, split in the party, fall in value of the pound, macmillan resigned early due to ill health

Macmillan: supermac due to 300,000 new homes as promised in the 1951 election manifesto. Support of media, cabinet members were capable and efficient

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Economy 1951-1964

Post war boom – food rationing ended in July 1954. By 1961 there was a 5% increase in population. By 1955 less than 1% was unemployed. By 1960 nearly 5 million people were employed in service industries. Rab butler provided a give away budget which provided £134 million in tax cuts. Britain could import 25% more goods.                                                   Stop-go economics- imports exceed exports and a balance of payments crisis. Government controls: high interest rates and wage freezes. Demand falls. Output decreases. Controls removed. Increase in demand. Rising imports.                                                  Suez crisis exposed Britain’s financial weakness.                                                                      Divisions in the cabinet- monetarism or not?                                                                                        April 1959 tax cuts of £370 million                                                                                                        1961 over fears of overheating a pay pause was introduced                                                      National economic development council was introduced and a national incomes commission      1963 beeching report – review into cutting public expenditure. Close 30% of the rail network.          Reginald maudling lowered the bank rate to encourage consumer spending. Britains growth rate rose to 6% in 1964.

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Society 1951-1964

Regional and class loyalties strong                                                                                                  1951 festival of Britain showed a new modern world with technological and social progress      Pre-war slums cleared and new towns built- harlow and Kirby                                                From 1952 mens weekly wage rose from £8.30 to £15.35 in 1961                                              Itv launched in 1955 with advertising                                                                                      1957-1959 TV ownership rose by 32%. By 1960 10 million TV’s. around 50% if the population watched TV in the evening                                                                                                      1957-1959 car ownership increased by 25%                                                                            1958 construction of the motorway system began                                                                        1957-1963 1200 miles of new/upgraded roads were complete                                              1950s 60,000 people holidayed at butlins. 2% went on foreign holidays                                    1951- 65% of working-class voted for labour and 80% middle-class voted for the conservative party                                                                                                                                         1956 suez crisis exposed lying by the government                                                                       Rise of the cnd after 1958 encouraged challenging the authority                                          Press coverage of the profumo affair showed the government could no longer prevent the publication of embarrassing information                                                                                         1960 satire boom – beyond the fringe (theatre), private eye(magazine) – witty disrespect for the great and famous, that was the week that was(TV) – satirised and lampooned public figures        1951 – only 1 in 5 women went to work                                                                                  Equal pay for teachers (1952) and for civil servants (1954)                                                    1957-1959 washing machine ownership rose by 54% and refrigerator by 58%                Attitudes to immigration -1958 210000 commonwealth immigrants. 1960s total inward migration was 1.25 million and outward migration was 1.92 million. 1958 notting hill riots. 1962 commonwealth immigrants act passed                                                                                   Youth – no national service after 1960. 1959 10% were teenagers. Teddy boys. Mods and rockers had clashes in south-coast holiday resorts.

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Foreign policies 1951-1964

Schuman plan 1950- proposals for a coal and steel community                                            Britain didn’t initially join the eec because: few politicians/journalists in favour, left suspicious of free-market principles, right wanted to preserve traditional trade links, maintain relationship with the us.                                                                                                                                       1955 conferemce at messina, sicily outlined the eec. Treaty of rome launched the eec.          1959 Britain formed the European free trade association                                                         1961 Britain applied to join the eec to boost industrial production, increase industrial efficiency and stimulate economic growth. Charles de gaulle vetoed the application in 1963                      Relations with usa- allies in opposing the expansion of communism. Kennedy kept Britain informed about the Cuban missile crisis. Special relationship under strain: burgess and maclean affair, relationship with the eec and the suez crisis                                                            Relations with ussr- aided soviet leader Khrushchev in 1960 to make plans for a summit conference.                                                                                                                          Nuclear deterrent -us stopped sharing nuclear secrets. First tested the atomic bomb in 1952, h-bomb in 1957. Led to the formation of the cnd in 1958. 8000 people took part in a demonstration at Aldermaston. Under the mutual defence agreement in 1958 us agreed to share nuclear technology again. Blue streak was abandoned in 1960 and replaced by polaris       Korean war(1950-1953)- Britain sent 90,000 soldiers. Over 1000 british troops died                     Suez (1956)- suez canal was a route for oil shipments (80% of western europes oil imports passed through). Us and gb pulled out of he investment in the aswan dam due to eyptian independence. Nasser announced the nationalisation of the suez canal. Britain, France and Israel agreed a plan where Israeli forces would invade Egypt; British and French forces would then intervene. Plan carried out on 29th October. Caused political protest in Britain.                      Winds of change and decolonisation- 1947 withdrawal from India. British forces fought against national independence in Malaya, Kenya and Cyprus. 1957 Ghana granted independence, Nigeria and Cyprus in 1960, Tanganyika and sierra Leone in 1961, Uganda in 1962 and Kenya in 1963. Macmillan made his winds of change speech in 1960

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Politics 1964-1970

Wilson – classless, state secondary education, smoked pipe                                                Wilsons white heat of technology speech in 1963                                                                 Wilson linked the labour party to modernisation                                                                        Kitchen cabinet – used a close inner circle of advisors                                                      Rivalries between Wilson and his most cabinet colleagues (brown, Callaghan or Jenkins)            Wilson didn’t support Jenkins liberalising legislation as home secretary or his pro European stance                                                                                                                                           By 1970 the post war consensus was breaking down – trade unions more uncooperative, conservatives questioned whether the state should take as great a role in planning the economy and ensuring full employment                                                                                Labour lost the 1970 election – could be influenced by enoch powells rivers of blood speech in 1968, the breakdown of the post war consensus, heath was strong and principled             Private members bills – backbench mps can propose legislation. Jenkins was sympathetic towards the reforms introduced.                                                                                            Capital punishment – 1957 number of offences punishable by the death penalty was reduced. 1965 hanging was abolished for a 5 year trial and in 1969 it was permanentlyremoved.            Divorce reform act of 1969-no fault divorce following the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. By mid 1970s 10 in every 1000 marriages ended in divorce                                              Abortion made legal in 1967 on the first 28 weeks. Number of abortions increased from 4 per 1000 in 1968 to 17.6 in 1975                                                                                                    1967 sexual offences act decriminalised homosexual acts when both partners had consented, both over 21 and in private                                                                                              Education- circular 10/65 issued requesting secondary schools to be comprehensive schools. By 1970 only 8 authorities failed to do so there were 1145 comprehensive schools.           Higher education – polytechincs replaced by colleges of technology, 9 advanced technology colleges became full universities, open university started in 1969 with 70,000 students by 1980

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Economics 1964 to 1970

By 1964 Britain was lagging behind other countries including japan and west Germany   Trapped in stop-go cycle                                                                                                                                         Labour inherited a deficit of £800 million                                                                            Department of economic affairs was set up under George brown – set growth targets and a national system of economic planning councils, agreements between trade union leader, civil servants and industrialists.                                                                                                                The policies did not above united government support. Dea was abandoned in 1967 and brown was moved the ministry of foreign affairs.                                                                                   Prices and incomes policy introduced to keep down inflation                                                  Sterling crisis in 1966 caused by a strike by the national union of seamen.                                 1967 outbreak of war in the middle east affected oil supplies                                                   August 1967 major national dock strike affected the balance of payments                                   The pound dropped by 14% to 2.40 us dollars                                                                       Defence cuts, introduction of hire purchase restrictions and higher interest rates                  Jenkins chancellor in 1967 used deflationary methods- raised taxes and tightened up government spending                                                                                                                                           By 1969 a balance of payments surplus was achieved                                                                  1969-1970 inflation was at 12%

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Society 1964 to 1970

By 1961 75% of the population had aTV and by 1971 91%                                                     Bbc2 launched in April 1964 allowing bbc1 to grow more populist. In 1967 bbc2 became the first channel to broadcast in colour                                                                                                Radio survived as it was cheap and portable                                                                             The sun launched in 1964 replacing the serious working-class newspaper the daily herald      By 1969 23% of free time was spent watching Tv                                                                    1974 77% of journeys were done by car                                                                                  1871 8.4% of holidays were package holidays                                                                      Travel abroad introduced new restaurants and wine bars                                                       1965 the post office tower opened which was the tallest building in Britain                             1968 the removal of theatre censorship was introduced. 13 members of the cast of hair stood naked in front of their audience for 30 seconds.                                                                      1970 – 28% if students in higher education were women, 5% reached managerial posts     NHS act of 1967 allowed local authorities to provide contraceptives and contraceptive advice   Illegitimate births rose from 5.8% in 1960 to 8.2% in 1970                                                     1969 the women’s national co-ordination committee was created                                          1970 matrimonial property act stated the work of women should be considered in divorce settlements                                                                                                                               1970 equal pay act only came into force 5 years later                                                       Catholic church hostile towards the contraceptive pill                                                             Mary white house campaigned against changes setting up the national viewers and listeners association in 1965 which had 100,000 members                                                          Dangerous drugs act of 1967 made it unlawful to possess drugs such as cannabis and cocaine  Women wore trousers and men wore velvets, stains and brightly coloured fabrics                  End of the 1960s skinheads emerged – shaved heads, dr marten boots                                 17th March 1968 ant-Vietnam war demonstration in London. 28th march battle of Grosvenor square occurred, ending with 200 people being arrested. October 1968 30000 people demonstrated                                                                                                                           1965 survey showed 1 in 5 objected to working with black people or Asians                        1965 race relations act forbade discrimination in public places                                             1968 commonwealth immigration act limited the right of return for non-whit commonwealth citizens                                                                                                                                      75% of the population agreed with Enoch Powell(rivers of blood)                                        1968 race relations act banned discrimination in housing, employment, insurance and other services                                                                                                                                    Race relations board only upheld 10% of complaints                                                        Notting hill carnival became an annual event in 1964

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Foreign Policy 1964 to 1970

Vietnam war began in 1964. Australis sent troops but Wilson resisted any direct military involvement. Britain could not afford it and the war became unpopular with the left.          Michael Foot and Barbra castle were hostile towards the EEC but there was some Europhiles including Jenkins and brown. Wilson preferred the Atlantic alliance and links with the commonwealth.1966 Britain submitted another application to join the EEC, but this was vetoed once again by de gaulle.                                                                                                     Healeys defence white paper in 1976 set a timetable for troop withdrawals from Adne, the middle east, Malaysia and Singapore.                                                                                Wilson’s government announced that they would continue to deploy us polaris.                           However, after the 1967 devaluation crisis withdrawal of troops was accelerated. The development of the new high-tech warplane, the TSR2, was abandoned                                      1963 the federation of Rhodesia and Nysaland had broken up into 3. 1964 northern Rhodesia became Zambia; Nysaland became independent Malawi. Southern Rhodesia hoped for independence, but Britain would not allow this until the majority rule replace the political domination by the white people. 1965 smith issued a unilateral declaration of independence for Rhodesia without accepting majority rule. Wilson met smith on board HMS tiger in December 1966 and again on HMS fearless in October 1968. However, this did not change smith’s decision.

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Politics 1970-1979

Conservative party in power under heath.                                                                           January 1970 the conservatives held a conference at Selsdon park to approve the manifesto.    School leaving age raised to 16                                                                                               Local government was reorganised                                                                                  Industrial relations act introduced – set up an industrial relations court and introduced a cooling off period before strike. Both the TUC and CBI were opposed.                                          General strike of 1926 meant 23,909,000 working days were lost                                     National board for prices and incomes was abolished                                                       Industry act of 1926 – aimed to involve the government with the TUC and CBI in agreeing wages, prices, investment and benefits                                                                                   1974 three-day week introduced                                                                                            Willie Whitelaw from Northern Ireland was moved to be minister of employment, but this failed    January 1974 NUM called a national strike                                                                       National election called 28th February 1974. Labour won 5 more seats, but the election caused a hung parliament. Wilson returned to power. Inflation was at 15% and balance of payment deficit was £3 billion. Election called in October gave Wilson a majority of 3.                        Social contract was negotiated with the TUC.                                                                       Wilson ended the 3-day week.                                                                                              March 1976 Wilson was replaced by Callaghan                                                                    1978 TUC rejected a 5% pay rise encouraging trade unions to put in higher demands. Ford lorry drivers achieved a 15% increase after a 9-week strike. March 1979 the average pay increase was 10%                                                                                                                   March 1979 the government lost vote of no confidence in parliament forcing them to resign.       General election of 1979 was won by the conservative majority of 43

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Social 1970-1979

Sex discrimination act in 1975 – discrimination against gender or martial status was banned. Set up the equality opportunities commission – only launched 9 investigations in 8 years, only 10% of claims were successful

Employment protection act 1975 – paid maternity leave and outlawed dismissal on the ground of pregnant

Women’s wage increased from 59% of a mans in 1970 to 70% in 1977

By 1974 over 1 million new commonwealth immigrants had come to Britain

In 1974 the London borough council elections only had 10 non white councillors. By 1978 this increased to 35.

1976 race relations act established the commission for racial equality

National front had 20,000 members by 1976.

1976 only 70 police offices had a black or ethnic minority background.

Blair peach was killed in a demonstration om 1979 (anti-nazi league supporter

1975-1976 punk movement – wore ******* gear, safety pins, ripped t-shirts and spikey hair.    Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren opened a boutique called sex which sold punk items Sex pistols released god save the queen during the queens silver jubilee year in 1977 Skinheads – working class and influenced by Jamaican music – linked to the national front and hooliganism 

Greenpeace founded in the uk in 1977. In 1975 people discovered beagles in labs were being forced to smoke 30 cigarettes a day causing animal rights protestors. Animal liberation front formed in 1976 – letter bombs were sent to politicians. 1979 life on earth started. 

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Foreign Affairs 1970-1979

Northern Ireland – parliamentary organisations sprang up on both sides including IRA, INLA and UDA. Night-time curfews and internment were unsuccessful 95% interneted 1971-1975 were catholic. 30th January 1972(bloody Sunday) the Northern Ireland civil rights association organised a march to protest against internment. British soldiers fired killing 26. British embassy in Dublin was burned down. 1972; 10,628 SHOOTINGS, 480 KILLED. MARCH 1972 direct rule was introduced. 1973 Heath and Whitelaw negotiated the Sunningdale agreement to share power in the government. 11/12 constituencies opposed. Ulster workers council announced a strike causing Britain to declare a state of emergency. The Sunningdale agreement collapsed. July 1975 election resulted in a majority for unionists. 1976 special category status was removed from terrorist prisoners causing them to protest. By 1979 250 prisoners took part in the protest

 EEC-January 1973 Britain entered the EEC after an application in 1971. in the July 1975 referendum 68.3% voted yes.

Relations worsened with the us during the Yom Kippur war. Callaghan negotiated the replacement of polaris missiles with trident in 1979. 

China – July 1971 Nixon announced a thawing of relationships. Heath was awarded the peoples friendship envoy. Oct 1979 Hua Guofeng visited Britain.

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Economic 1970-1979

Decimalisation of the currency                                                                                                   Barber boom- Anthony barber introduced cuts in public spending and tax cuts. Rapid rise in inflation and unemployment rose causing stagflation.

Rolls Royce was nationalised in 1971 and money given to upper Clyde shipbuilders from the government. By 1973 unemployment had fallen back to 500000.

1973 Yom Kippur war in the middle east caused the opec to declare an oil embargo. Price of oil increased by 4 times.

National union of miners’ strike in Nov 1973 

Healeys budget in 1975 introduced rises in taxation and a cut in public spending

National enterprise board set up in 1974 under Benn to administer the governments share holdings in private companies.

1975 a formal pay restraint was introduced

 Devolution – referendum showed wales was against it, Scotland favoured it.

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