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How far do Sources A-G support the view that Ramsay MacDonald deserves to be remembered as, 'The Great Betrayer of the Labour Party.'

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Britain's Parliamentary Democracy c1888-1997 Part A: Assessment Objective 2 How far do Sources A-G support the view that Ramsay MacDonald deserves to be remembered as, 'The Great Betrayer of the Labour Party.' When considering this question the reasons for Ramsay MacDonald being considered the great betrayer are very important. The Labour government of 1929 was elected at an unfortunate time and following the Wall Street crash Britain found itself with unemployment reaching 3 million. Labour raised welfare but due to a fall in money from taxes soon became short of money. A policy of cutting teachers wages as well as those of the civil service and armed forces would be necessary as well as a 10% decrease in welfare, without these cuts the international bankers refused to extend or increase British loans. A vote was carried out within cabinet to consider this new policy 10 of the 21 MPs rejected it. This led MacDonald to make a decision to resign as PM and remove the Labour government. However after meeting with the opposition leaders and the king it was decided he would continue as PM of a national government. This decision was not a popular one with Labour MPs who believed that that he had planned this all along; he was removed from the party and from then on considered the great betrayer of the Labour party. ...read more.


This is arguably due to the Wall Street crash something, which was unpredictable but may have made it seem to the general public that the Labour government had been doing a poor job. However it is still important to realise that despite the government now being majority Conservative Labour still effectively have a major controlling force in Ramsay MacDonald who remained PM. In this position MacDonald was able to represent Labour ideology despite the massive Conservative majority. Source C is another primary source. It is a cartoon drawn by David Low; he was known to be left wing, and also being an expert at representing public opinion. It important to note that this cartoon was drawn in 1930 before the national government was formed the idea of Ramsay MacDonald was following a route dictated by Tory and Liberal rails suggests that Labour had little power originally and as in the cartoon were excursionists who were along for the ride. It is clear from the image that it was believed that the three groups would need to work together to get anything done. Written on the side of the tram is "concessions" and "accommodations" this sign represents the idea that Labour without a majority is forced to give in. in all this image shows that without support of the other parties Labour would be unable to force any policy through. ...read more.


Another point would be how much could Macdonald have betrayed his party when the Labour MPs of the 1930's were viewed to have a policy of "MacDonaldism without MacDonald" Finally source G, this source while secondary does seem to favour the MacDonald "MacDonald had always believed that Party loyalty could conflict with higher national or international loyalties and that it should come second if it did." While a retrospective view it does suggest that MacDonald had always been open with his opinion and his views country before party and so when it came down to it should Labour have been shocked at his choice especially after 1914 which to MacDonald was seen as a precursor. "He has often been accused of betraying his party, but if he had acted differently he would have betrayed his whole approach to politics." Sources A-G don't go very far to support the idea that MacDonald was the great betrayer of the Labour party. While evidence can be seen within them to support the idea the majority suggests to me that he was not. It seems that he was blamed for not being a Party politician something, which he had never claimed to be. The very fact that after he was ejected from the party they were seen to carry on with his policy would seem to show he did no betray the party. ...read more.

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