Lloyd George's Coaltion Government 1918-1922

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COUPON ELECTION 1918

Why?

  • Not been an election since 1910
  • Representation of the Peoples 1918: Men over 21, women over 30 - redistrubtion of seats
  • Bound to win - LG wanted mandate to carry on w post-war reconstruction

Campaign

  • Didn't want to reunite with Liberal split - jeopardise supremacy
  • Reconstruction needed a coalition government w LG as leader
  • Rejection of Asquith Lib mending = 
    • asking Cons & Libs to get on for coaltion was difficult - hence the "coupon" = LG sent each MP he deemed coaltion supporters so only one would run - 159 recieved letter (thus approval)
    • Liberal supporters needed encouraging to support Conservatives
      • used traditional Liberal policies temporarily to butter up - soon forgotten
  • Coalition in favour = won the war - 478 across coaltion Lib/Cons/Lab, Lab benefit from Lib split

Comment

  • Conservative benefit - could ditch LG whenever - dominance
  • Lib in disarray: Asquith's at 28 - A lost seat and returned to Paisley MP, 3rd in country
  • Lab seen as Cons opposition w 22% of vote 
  • 73 Sinn Fein refused @ Westminister & set up Dail
    • Countess Markiewicz (1st woman)
  • LG lost reputation: "guilty of political assassination" - Seaman

Conclusion

Able men: Bonar Law, Chamberlain, Balfour, Curzon, Churchill, Birkenhead, Milner - continuity of personnel (younger gen traumatised by war) - before 1914 dominanted politics.

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS & LABOUR UNREST

Causes

  • 1921 - 85 million working days lost to strike
    • Inflation = wages not enough (boom from 1918-19)
    • 1 million unemployed by 1921
    • Anger at wartime profiteers (cement used at the Somme by Germans)
    • Return to privatisation of industries (relaxation of gov stance)
  • LG's lack of interest didn't help - more interested in mending Europe

Examples

  • Railway workers:
    • Strike 1919 - threatening wage cuts - govt gave in and agreed to abort
  • T.U.C. & Russian relations:
    • resented govt support to Poles (at war with Bolsh) - "Jolly George" used to carry munitions to Poland boycotted 
      • Docker's banned boats to carry munitions against Russia 
    • threatened a gen strike - stopped by end to Russo-Polish conflict in 1921
  • Police:
    • London & Liverpool on strike in 1919 & 1920 over wages & lack of union
    • Riots w looting - troops in Liverpool 1919
  • Miners:
    • Worst unrest
    • Wanted nationalisation after state ownership through the war
    • 1919 Miners Fed:
      • 6 hour day
      • 30% increase in earnings
      • nationalisation of mines & minerals
    • 6:1 miners voted in favour of strike when LG said no - LG difused anger using Sankey Commission (invited leaders to investigate)
    • Bonar Law: govt was prepared to carry out "in the spirit and in the letter"

Sankey Commission 1919 - "brought forth a mouse" (Mowat)

  • Act of Parliament - not government - power to compel involvement
    • Sir John Sankey (Chairman)
    • Industry: 3 x coalowners & industrialists
    • Labour: 3 x miner's leaders & economists sympathetic w miners
      • Economists, Sankey, mine leaders = nationalisation
      • Owners = privatisation
      • Industrialists = amalgamation
  • Raise false hopes and play for time
  • Refused nationalisation: "decieved, betrayed and duped" - Hartshorn (Welsh mine leader)
  • Attention turned…

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