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Do the events of the British General Strike show that Britain was a genuinely conservative society?

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Introduction

Do the events of the British General Strike show that Britain was a genuinely conservative society? Indeed it could be said that the failure of the general strike and resultantly any real change proves that Britain in 1926 was a conservative society, but others would argue that it wasn't that the British people wanted change, it was just that the government and the elites didn't. Before we can begin to answer this question firstly we have to understand the exact meaning of the word conservative. I have found the meaning to be as follows; "Tending toward maintaining traditional and proven views, conditions and intuitions, favouring the preservation of established customs, values etc and opposing innovation". Firstly we will take the approach of the coal owners in the events leading up to, and, during the period of the general strike. I think that that it was clear from the start of the whole fiasco that the coal owners were reluctant toward change. ...read more.

Middle

I think that the TUC supported the strike because they knew that the working conditions that the miners had to endure were very poor and felt sorry for them, this coupled with the fact the miners were underpaid especially as the coal owners received huge profits from the war which the TUC saw as unjust and therefore sought to change this. I think that in general the British workers wanted change, but they did more than that, they actively supported change as well. The evidence for this was clear from their support that they gave by not going to work during the strike. The fact that they didn't go to work helped the miners cause greatly because it mean that it put both the government and the coal owners under pressure as it wasn't only the mines that this strike affected now it was the whole country and therefore the government would be more keen to resolve the matter. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion I think that it was not necessarily that Britain as a whole was conservative, but that they people that had the real power to influence the events of the general strike didn't want the change. I believe that the majority of the British public wanted change, they wanted the miners to have better working conditions, better pay and less working hours, it was just that the government didn't. They printed articles saying that the "general strike was a direct challenge to parliament" which made people believe that the general strike was a bad thing, thus, meaning that the general strike lost public support and without that their efforts were worthless. The employers wouldn't and couldn't give their employees more because the price of coal had decreased dramatically meaning that they were getting less money anyway let alone giving their employees a pay rise. All of these factors meant that the general strike failed, thus creating the notion that Britain didn't really want change anyway and is a genuinely conservative society. ?? ?? ?? ?? Matthew Goodwin ...read more.

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