The Conservative Party During The Inter-War Years

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During the inter-war years, the Conservative Party was in power 17 years out of a possible 21. British politics normally saw an equal balance of time in government. A key underlying factor for this success was the Conservatives growing ability to understand their potential voters amidst the changes of the inter-war years. The inter-war years were marked by unique developments which could shape both the political system and the electorate who engaged with it. The electorate significantly expanded from 7.7 million individuals to 21 million in 1918, 70% of which were new voters. The slow rise of Labour and the fall of the Liberals led to redefinitions of identity and the complexities of a three party system.The Conservatives could capitalise …show more content…
Baldwin 's use of “England” as a rhetorical device has been much studied in this respect by historians such as Nicholas4. The significance of phrases such as “To me, England is the country and the country is England . . . the hammer on the anvil in the country smithy, the corncrake on a dewy morning . . . the sight of a plough team coming over the brow of a hill . . . for centuries the one eternal sight of England” lies in an attempt to shift what identifying as a Conservative meant. Turning Conservatism into a form of patriotism made political opponents anti-patriotic. There were very real awarenesses of the electorate in this tactic. Working class loyalty to the empire and monarchy showed a conservatism which the Conservatives could take advantage of. J. R Clynes is an example of a trade union leader with conservative traits. After WW1 inspired by the country 's cooperation against the enemy, he called for class-cooperation. The success of men such as this would depend on similar rank and file sentiment. It was this sentiment that Conservatives could utilise by aligning themselves with nationalistic loyalties. With the contextual fears of socialism spurred by international movements, this attack gained greater relevance against Labour. 1929 showed this support was not reliable. Yet despite the parties very real fears that the incorporation of a large number of low earners would remove them from the government, they were in power in this period more than the period before. It was their tactical engagement with a new electorate that gave them

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