Atlee won the popular vote in 1951 after clawing back a Tory poll lead of 11,% in late September which was down to 4.5% by mid October and had evaporated and become a 4.51% surplus over the Tory vote in the final result.
The 1951 United Kingdom general election was held twenty months after the 1950 general election, which the Labour Party had won with a slim majority of just five seats. The Labour government called the general election for Thursday 25 October 1951 hoping to increase their parliamentary majority. However, despite winning the popular vote and receiving the largest percentage of the vote, the Labour Party was defeated by the Conservative Party who had won the most seats. This election marked the beginning of the Labour Party’s thirteen-year spell in opposition, and the return of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister.
had decided to call the election after the King’s
concerns over leaving the country to go on his Commonwealth
tour in 1952 with a government that had such a slim majority, that there was danger of a change of government in his absence.
(As it transpired the King became too ill to travel and delegated the tour to his daughter Princess Elizabeth
shortly before his death in February 1952.)
The Labour government, which by now had implemented most of its 1945 election manifesto, was now beginning to lose many cabinet ministers such as Ernest Bevin
and Stafford Cripps
due to old age. The Conservatives however, due to the previous year’s election, appeared fresher, with more new MPs.
As Labour began to have some policy divisions during the election campaign, the Conservatives ran an efficient campaign that was well-funded and orchestrated. Their manifesto Britain Strong and Free
stressed that safeguarding “our traditional way of life” was integral to the Conservative purpose. They did not propose to dismantle the welfare state or the National Health Service
which the Labour Government had established.
As for the Liberals, the poor election results in 1950 only worsened.
Four candidates were returned unopposed, all in Northern Ireland. This was the last general election in which any candidates were returned unopposed, although there have since been unopposed by-elections
The subsequent Labour defeat was significant for several reasons: the party polled almost a quarter of a million votes more than the Conservatives
and their National Liberal
allies combined, won the most votes that Labour had ever won (as of 2015) and won the most votes of any political party in any election in British political history, a record not surpassed until the Conservative Party
‘s victory in 1992
. Despite this, it was the Conservatives
who formed the next government with a majority of 17 seats. Under the first past the post
electoral system, many Labour votes were “wasted” as part of large majorities for MPs in safe seats rather than into holding onto marginal seats. It should also be noted that most of Labour’s overall popular vote margin can be accounted for as being the votes not polled by the Conservatives’s Ulster Unionist
allies in the four constituencies (all safe UUP seats) in which they were unopposed – the UUP would poll 166,400 votes in these four constituencies four years later
. This was the fourth of five elections in the twentieth century where a party lost the popular vote, but won the most seats. The others were January 1910
, December 1910
and February 1974
; it also happened at the 1874 election
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May 06, 2017 THE ROVIAN TURN IN ELECTION PUNDITRY, LIES DAMNED LIES AND STATISTICS. #CORBYN4PM
The scripted narrative will surely deliver a Tory landslide or will it? We will see tomorrow how strong the Establishment spin machine remains in France. There seems to be rather a lot of Rovian type telekinesis being practised by the Neo-Liberal apologists who invariably do not acknowledge their ideological master.
What more evidence do they need? What more proof do the Labour leadership and its supporters require? This was not an opinion poll.
Funny that suddenly everyone seems to have forget that polls were giving Tories a 20% lead. Actual result: 11% lead. Turn out: 26%!
If anything, it looks like the Tories are not on course to the crushing parliamentary majority that they wished for. And on that kind of turnout, it could only take a 35% turnout on the 8th of June to turn the GE into squeaky bum time for the Maybot.
The Starting Point
First, we should make a virtue of what we do understand – the nature of Labour’s victory in 1945. Did the reasons for Labour’s great victory have any relevance in 1950 and 1951?
The causes of the ’45 victory can be simply summarised:
- Labour was more in tune than the Conservatives with public opinion, especially with the wartime ethos of equality and ‘fair shares’ and with hopes for a new welfare state. Hence its manifesto promises had wide appeal.
- Labour had a better front bench team than the Conservatives, appearing both more talented and more trustworthy.
- In the improvised campaign of 1945 Labour’s electoral machinery was no longer inferior to that of its rival.
- The British ‘first past the post’ system gave Labour a huge majority of seats (just over 61 per cent) even though they won less than half of the popular vote.
Undoubtedly Labour had promised more than the Conservatives in the 1945 election. Yet such promises, while resulting in temporary popularity in the polls, might turn out to be hostages to fortune. Such had been the case with the Lloyd George Coalition, elected at the end of the First World War. Yet Labour exhibited a steely determination to make Britain a better place in which to live, and the 1945-50 administration goes down in history as the government that fulfilled more of its promises than any other.
In total, the 1945 parliament passed no fewer than 347 acts of parliament. Clearly there is no opportunity here to focus on details, but we do need to be aware of broad contours. On the home front, the Beveridge report was implemented, with the National Insurance Act of 1946 and the National Assistance Act of 1948. Furthermore, Labour inaugurated the National Health Service in 1948 (generally seen as one of the most valuable reforms in the whole of British history), built over a million new houses, and raised the school leaving age to 15. Labour also fulfilled its promise to nationalise key areas of British industry, including the coal mines, the railways, gas and electricity. Externally, Labour granted independence to India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Burma, pulled out of Palestine, and helped set up an important new security pact, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
Inevitably the 1950 general election revolved around Labour’s record in office. Had they done enough to earn re-election? The party chairman claimed at the 1950 annual conference that ‘Poverty has been abolished, hunger is unknown. The sick are tended. The old folk are cherished, our children are growing up in a land of plenty.’ Yet against this seductive exaggeration – and even against Labour’s modest 1950 manifesto statement that ‘By and large the first majority Labour Government has served the country well’ – could be set postwar shortages, continuing rationing and high taxation, a series of financial crises, and general drab austerity. (The little bit of fun and glamour for which Labour was responsible, the Festival of Britain in May-September 1951, came too late to change perceptions of the period.) Objectively, it was a mixed record, as is that of every government, but what mattered at the polls were voters’ subjective responses, which reflected a mixed bag of concerns, including personalities as well as policies.
Attlee and his Ministers
Even some Conservative politicians, like Harold Macmillan, admitted that Labour’s ministerial team constituted an exceptionally talented group of people. Labour had seemed to dominate the home front during the war, thanks to Winston Churchill’s willingness to promote so many politicians outside his own Conservative party. Attlee, Bevin, Morrison, Dalton, Cripps, Bevan – here was a formidable team indeed. Yet by 1950, and even more by 1951, some of the gloss had been removed.
… to meet the significant economic and social challenge we face…requires a government with the sort of progressive reforming zeal typified, albeit in very different ways, by Clement Attlee or Tony Blair.
Observer Editorial.April 9 2017i
To which David Murray responded:
… your editorial (“May must focus on deep-seated structural ills, not just Brexit”) last week mentions Clement Attlee and Tony Blair in the same breath: leading, progressive, reforming governments with zeal, “albeit in very different ways”. Not half.
Before his government, though bankrupt, founded the National Health Service and built more than a million homes, Attlee, who was voted the greatest prime minister of the 20th century, became and called himself a socialist.
Thus, Attlee is not an easy figure for New Labour or an Observer editorial to appropriate.
On the other hand, Blair’s toxic legacy was to prolong Thatcherism…
The implied comparison between Jeremy Corbyn, Blair and Attlee is invalid, though, because Blair was not trying to return a belief system to its roots, which Corbyn is, those roots being closer to the socialism of Attlee than the New Labour of Blair.
No doubt Mr. Murray could have gone into much greater detail to dismiss the Observer’s false equivalence between a great British Prime Minister, Clem Attlee, and a despicable one, Tony Blair, as could I, but I won’t waste my time or yours on so tedious a subject.
From ‘Sharing Attlee’s DNA’
you will see that I am a fervent admirer of the legacy of social and economic reform that Democratic Socialists such as Clement Attlee built up in the first half of the 20th Century. It is to the immense credit of Jeremy Corbyn and his followers that they are trying to preserve and build upon that legacy.
Perhaps Mt Trump will be in receipt of similar reports from his CIA resident in London.
´´Óbservers Agree that the Election campaign has been relatively quiet and attribute this to a serious British Electorate thinking hard about the issues.´´
The British Electorate may deliver a trump style FU moment to the British and international Neo-Liberal Establishment. It has been shown that in spite of David Cameron and George Osbourne assuring we in the Precariat that we are all in this together we have seen the huge rises in the wealth of the top of society and particularly of the Bankers whose bacon we saved back in 2008.
The NHS is not safe with Theresa May and her Neo-Liberal Fake conservatives
Brexit is not safe with Theresa May and her Fake Neo-Liberal Tories
The truth and freedom of speech are not safe with Theresa May and her Fake Neo-Liberal Tories.
Moore asks his audience permission to read something he had just written in the official Hotel recommended to acts appearing at the hosting theatre, he sits at a desk with his ring bound folder. A scholarly setting redolent of fire side chats beloved of broadcaster continuity over festive holidays. Suitably posed Moore reads his freshly penned polemic and it is this polemic which appears on the Internet. Top trending on reddit and hurriedly ripped and pasted around the web the source of course missing. Rumours abound that it is not even Moore speaking these words. The words he speaks are powerful and cut through to the essence of the deep anger sadness and confusion of the American people. This righteous anger Moore concludes will lead to ´´The biggest Fu ever delivered´´. A Trump Victory in the presidential race of 2016.
Moore’s polemic is an extraordinarily powerful summation of the failure of the Establishment of the four Estates and nails the injustice and the inequality which the United States has come to be associated with in ´Awake ´circles, both in the US and abroad.
In a strange way, Theresa Mat is the Fake Tory Neo-Liberal Version of Hilary Clinton, a terrible candidate with an appallingly low-grade front bench. In truth the Tories are in the midst of the same Bastard problem that John Major battled with. Boris Johnson wobbles goofily in the back ground waiting to unleash his own brand of incipid entitled privilege on the unsuspecting ´´Thoughtful´British Electorate.
Don’t Get Fooled again.
An old Etonian Toff
was often noted to scoff
Whilst Brosiering His dame
Economical actualité is the name of the game
I’ll tax the upper Crust off your pasty
now your all Fagging for me
I always preferred Cheshire Porky Pies
In Cuisine and in Deed you see.
Clark left Parliament in 1992 following Margaret Thatcher’s fall from power. His admission during the Matrix Churchill
trial that he had been “economical with the actualité
” in answer to parliamentary questions about what he knew with regard to arms export licences to Iraq, caused the collapse of the trial and the establishment of the Scott Inquiry
, which helped undermine John Major