New Liberalism: Problems Balfour dealt with 1901-1905

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The Taff Vale Case, 1901

  • Trade unionists felt legal rights were under attack
  • 1890, Quinn vs Leathem Case, Strike organisers were liable to civil action by employer
  • 1900, Strike against Taff Vale Railway Company, South Wales occurred
  • The company won against Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants
  • ASRS had to pay £23,000 damages
  • This would ruin the unions if they were sued for damages
  • Instead of reversing the judgement Balfour's cabinet set up a royal commission
  • The Labour Representation Committee (LRC) benefited due to the boost in trade affiliations
  • LRC came to a deal with Gladestone (Liberal Chief Whip) to be allowed 35 constituencies where they could campaign for anti-conservative votes
  • In return LRC wouldn;t stand against Liberals in England or Wales
  • Balfour failed to help the unemployed
  • 1905, Unemployed Workmen Act helped urban unemployed (done by Asquith)
  • Unionists appeared callous
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Education Act, 1902

  • Established secondary school framework
  • 1870 Act only established provision for primary schools
  • Many school boards used money for advance courses for senior pupils
  • Old School Boards were abolished
  • Local Education Authorities took responsibilities
  • Church schools received funds
  • Grant aided schools increased from 94,000 in 1905 to 200,000 by 1914
  • LEA schools developed for those with ability
  • None conformists hated it: 'Rome on the Rates'
  • Wanted Church School education to wither away
  • Reason Education Act was supported could be said to be Britain's need for quality technical education
  • Balfour's 'blindspot' as he failed to grasp indignation he caused
  • 7000 prosecutions of people refusing to pay the rates in 1903 due to this act
  • Event galvanised the flagging Liberals
  • It heal the rift between pro-Boers (David Lloyd George) and Liberal Imperialists (Herbert Asquith)
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Licensing Act, 1904

  • Done to reduce pubs
  • Brewers received adequate compensation for their losses
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Chinese Slavery 1902-1904

  • Balfour could have stopped it
  • It sent thousands of Chinese labourers to South Africa
  • Caused a lose in electoral popularity
  • British High Commissioner, Lord Milner, wanted to rebuild the economy of South Africa after the Boer Wars
  • Gold mines needed workers and the Chinese were the answer
  • At first it was overruled by Chamberlain as he said it would provoke hostility
  • 1903, Chamberlain had left the Cabinet so the plan was sanctioned
  • Chinese labourers were herded into labour camps with appalling conditions
  • People believed it to be morally wrong
  • The white working class was angered as it closed their scope for emigration to South Africa as well as the jobs being given to Chinese migrant workers
  • The Government lost the support of the working class
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Joseph Chamberlain and Tariff Reforms 1903-05

  • Tariffs based on retaliatory tariffs, controls on selective import and imperial preference
  • Chamberlain wanted to challenge orthodoxy of free trade
  • Free trade meant cheap imports on food and raw materials which Britain relied on heavily
  • Germany had already put tariffs on Britain
  • Some thought it would boost home industries
  • Chamberlain said it would create 3/4 million more jobs
  • Stronger economy would mean more taxes thus Old Age Pensions could be brought in
  • Imperial Preference: Empire would become closer
  • It would benefit Australia and New Zealand due to low rates of duty with Britain
  • C.T.Ritchie, Chancellor of the Exchequer stopped Chamberlain as he wanted free trade
  • Balfour backed Ritchie
  • Chamberlain made a speech, 15th May 1903 that rocked the Party's foundations
  • It appealed to patriotic and imperial sentiments
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Tariff Reforms Cont

  • It left the Conservatives divided into three factions:
  • Whole Hoggers (Supported tariff reform)
  • Free Fooders (free trade supporters)
  • Balfourites (Backed the Prime Minister
  • It caused Winston Churchill to defect to the Liberals
  • Balfour tried to hide the split by sitting on the fence
  • Tension grew causing Chamberlain to leave the Cabinet in 1903
  • This allowed the Conservatives and Liberal Unionists to keep together
  • Chamberlain's resignation led to Lord Hartington's in October 1903
  • Issues invigorated the Liberal Party
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