- Created by: oanderton
- Created on: 31-08-20 17:33
MacDonald's fporeign policy was his strongest asset
He reversed many of the cuts imposed by the Geddes Axe cuts, like the Unemployment Insurance Act & Agriculture Act 1924
Official aims had been established by the 1918 constitution
- A national minimum: wage, working hours
- Nationalisation of industry
- Democratic administration of industries
- Heavy taxation of the rich
- To pay for social welfare and the costs of war
- Heavy burden for the leadership for most of the following century.
- MacDonald was far from implementing the 1918 Constitution.
- Did not have the support of many of the members - MacDonald being one.
- Prevented the party from having a truly national appeal.
ii. Labour's Aims
- MacDonald wanted to establish that Labour could tackle important foreign and domestic issues.
- Particularly interested in working for world peace.
- Ending the ill will between France and Germany.
- Supporting the League of Nations
- Aimed at going back to the refomrs of the immediate post war period, dealing with pressing problems
- Deal with unemployment.
- Keep costs of living low.
- Encourage more trade and therefore more jobs.
- Resist pressures from the left wing of the party for radical reforms.
- Show that Labour could be a moderate governing party
MacDonald Foreign Policy 1924
MacDonald's foreign policy & international peacekeeping efforts were a significant strength.
- MacDonald acted as foreign secretary and Prime Minister
- Giving him greater freedom of action here.
- Did not need the approval of parliament for specific legislation
- Attended the meeting of the League of Nations
- Strong supporter of the Geneva Protocol
- Had been drafted by former leader Henderson
- Outlawed war
- Made arbitration of disputes between nations in the league compulsory
- Gave the League power to impose sanctions on any country that rejected its decisions.
- Put Britain at the heart of moves to strengthen collective security and prevent war.
- Influential in finding a solution to the dispute between France and Germany over reparations.
- Dawnes Plan: payment through installments.
- Showed Labour's ability to take the lead in international affairs.
- MacDonald could be a world statesman
Limitations of Foreign Policy
- Conservatives refused to accept the Geneva Protocol.
- Still no mechanism for enforcing the decisions of the League except sanctions.
- Sanctions proved ineffective.
- Dawes Plan did not survive the economic crisis that hit Germany
- Few reparations were paid
- Agreed to another trade treaty with the USSR
- Criticised by Liberals and Conservatives.
- Disliked communism.
- Thought Britain should not have relations with a regime which had killed the Tsar and whose stated policy was to spread revolution.
- Criticised by Liberals and Conservatives.
Foreign Policy Evaluation
Ramsay MacDonald was an extremely effective leader when it came to foreign policy.
- Being foreign scretary and Prime Minister meant he didn't have to consult Parliament of foreign policy.
- Supported the League of Nations and made them more powerful by giving them the power to impose sanctions; improved on their main weakness; the weakness of previous government lead by Lloyd George.
- However, this did not solve the problem of the League being extremely weak, as these sanctions were largely ineffective.
However, his fopreign policy was not always recieved well within British politics.
- The Conservatives refused to accept the Geneva protocol
- The Liberals & Conservatives both criticised the trade agreements with the USSR.
The most serious Geddes Axe cuts of 1922 were reversed.
- Unemployment Insurance Act:
- Increased benefits
- Made uncovenanted benefit a right
- Dole made payable immediately after unemployment insurance benefits ceased.
- Agriculture Act 1924:
- Agricultural wages boards set up to ensure farm workers' wages were not cut below a minimum standard for each area.
- Did see an overall rise in wages
- Act remained in force until after WWII
ii. Domestic Policies
- Wheatly Housing Act
- Increased the subsidy for those renting council houses.
- Enabled another 521,000 council houses to be built
- Cuts to education were restored
- Report commissioned on secondary education
- Hadow Report 1931, basis of 1944 Education Act
- Solution to unemployment was seen in terms of traditional free trade policies
- Reductions on tea and sugar duties
- Conservatives decided not to press for import duties
- Little difference between the parties
Limitations of Domestic Policy
- Defence cuts
- Work on the singapore naval base was halted.
- No concessions to deal with unrest in the empire
- More planes were ordered for the suppression of unrest in Iraq
- Government was not sympathetic to strikes
- Used the Emergency Powers Act against a public transport strike to ensure essentail services kept running.
- Solution to unemployment was seen in terms of traditional free trade policies.
- No major social refomrs
- No attempt to impose nationalisation of industry or redistribute wealth.