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To what extent had the post-war social consensus been undermined by 1975?

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To what extent had the post-war social consensus been undermined by 1975? Post-war consensus by 1975 had fragmented as British society became polarised. The Conservative and Labour Government's inability to tackle the economic decline subsequently led to the post-war consensus being threatened. Wilson in 1964 tried to resolve the problems by promising an equal and fairer society based on meritocracy and a 'planned revolution' but by 1968 it was clear Wilson was incapable of this and further undermined the post-war consensus. By 1975 the public had lost faith in the two established traditional parties and began to question the foundations of post-war consensus as to whether Consensus politics is efficient anymore. By enabling economic decline to go unchecked the alienated working classes' position deteriorated increasing the violent tension towards immigrants as unemployment rose and poverty was rife in the inner cities, calling into question the tolerant society Wilson promised in 1964. By 1964 post-war social consensus was beginning to crack, hence why Wilson promised a 'classless society' to curb the internal issues plaguing Britain and give the people hope of a better future. ...read more.


Failure to deal with rising inflation, trade deficit and unemployment meant standards of living dropped in all sectors of society, meaning the alienated working class fell deeper into poverty resulting in more discrimination towards immigrants and with speeches such as the 1968 'Rivers of Blood' speech by Enoch Powell it only personified the growing resentment of immigrants. As it became clear to the aspirant youth that Wilson's promises were shallow they turned their attention to single issue pressure groups which became popular in the late 60's such as Friends of the Earth. The young were frustrated with the government's inability to represent their values, and used environmentalism as a front to force the government to develop policies to support their cause. As expectations rose from Wilson's speech the pressure was high on Wilson, when he failed to address any of the issues, it created an even more hostile society, one very different to the post-war consensus. During the period 1970-1975 Britain became more confrontational because of the failures of Health who, like Wilson, didn't address the underlying issues. ...read more.


But as seen the social consensus was challenged on numerous occasions, such as all the government's failure to contain the unions made some people turn to other alternatives, and the increasing violence towards immigrants also deterred some people to parties like the National Front. The aspirant youth felt the government were out of touch and the 1968 devaluation confirmed this as the facade that living standards would keep growing was gone which encouraged many to turn to single pressure groups. The social consensus, on the whole, remained up until 1975 but the general mood of the public changed drastically in the 11 years, one that was cautious about the future rather than optimistic. Conclusively, society was evolving into a consumer economy, generally the well-being of people were improving and society was happy, but this consumer economy had its consequences in the form of the alientated working class who grew angry with the government and vented their anger at immigrants. However, Britain was turning into a multi-racial society and even though there were racism there was no going back from Britain become a diverse country. The political parties became more responsive as the tactics of their voters became more effective, they now have to listen to the people otherwise they wouldn't survive politically. ...read more.

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