The national government coalition

The government was trying to achieve several different, contradictory objectives: The gold standard meant that British prices were higher than its competitors, so the all-important export industries did poorly. In the situation deteriorated and there was much fear that the budget was unbalanced, which was born out by the independent May Report which triggered a confidence crisis and a run on the pound. The Labour government agreed in principle to make changes in taxation and to cut expenditure to balance the budget and restore confidence.

The national government coalition

Chamberlainwhy did the National Government formed in last so long? The nine year premiership of the National Government of was an unprecedented and unique phenomenon in twentieth century The national government coalition British politics.

Coalition government - Wikipedia

Although it is now looked upon less than favourably by historians and political scientists alike, it was an enduring government which could well have continued into another term had World War Two and the rise of Churchill been avoided by the National Government; although whether another term in office would have been beneficial to Britain is another matter.

Surely then, a National Government which was at its core a coalition with a majority of could not prosper in Britain. On the contrary however, it would produce another election win, and incorporate the office three prime ministers.

The first aspect of the National Government which contributed to its nine year term in office would be the way in which it was portrayed, rather than as a coalition, as a party in its own right under one party name.

Mosley was probably the most substantial threat to the National Government, as dictatorships fascist and otherwise gripped mainland Europe, but his fascist party never really took off in Britain as suspicion and dislike towards communism and dictators grew.

The national government coalition

Mosley created the New Party, which whilst initially popular waned in popularity as it leaned further toward fascism. He later founded the British Union of Fascists inwhich whilst initially caused a stir, dropped massively in the run up to the election to the extent it would not even able to stand for government in it.

Whilst here it appears Mosley was perhaps more successful in further splitting the remaining Liberal and Labour votes, and clearing the way further for the Conservative-dominated National government, it was his ideas which threatened most sincerely.

Perhaps had his ideas of fascism been displayed less militantly, such as in Cable Street inthey would have appealed more to a desperate, economically crushed Britain.

This weakening of the opposition also allowed them to avoid an early election, and therefore time to establish itself.

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By this he meant that the House of Commons layout two opposing benches rather than the considered circular designs commanded two-party-politics, with a possible third smaller party. This left the House of Commons in unfamiliar territory, and whilst Labour and Liberal parties would have to adjust to the new dynamic of what was essentially now one party politics, with two very minor and crumbling opposing parties, the National Government would be in a very stable position, and could reap the advantages of the massive majority government they found themselves within.

The influence of the media cannot be underestimated when considering the reasons for the National Governments longevity either.

The national government coalition

The general consensus amongst leading national newspapers at the time was of positivity towards the National Government, and also to portray the Labour and Liberal Parties as divisive.

Radio broadcasting also played into the hands of the National Government, who out of ten political broadcasts allocated by the BBC at the election, were given 6 out of the ten available, with the other four being distributed between the remaining fragmented opposition.

The fear of communism and dictatorship was a central component in the longevity achieved by the National Government. This led to extreme concessions being given on the part of all involved in politics to desperately try not to rock the boat and give rise to a fascism or Nazism.

It could be convincingly argued that this clear disparity from the common enemy was a significant element to the prolonged existence of the National Government.

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In this instance, it could be said that whilst there was no real achievements made in the years of its reign there was at the time no real failures either, as the problems with the appeasement policies were largely supported and not seen as failures until the outbreak of World War Two.

At the formation of the National Government, Baldwin demanded that his Conservative MPs agreed to support Macdonald not just at the election, but also for a second term in office.

This instilled a sense of co-dependency within the coalition, which again gave rise to stagnancy as the three sides of the coalition sought to appease one another. The parties would also withdraw and enter constituents in elections which would give them the best chance of gaining power.

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