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The problems facing Conservatives from 1899-1905 and the growth of Liberal popularity.

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Introduction

The problems facing Conservatives from 1899-1905 and the growth of Liberal popularity: Political personalities: Balfour, who had been known as "Bloody Balfour" when he was made Irish secretary had little knowledge or cares for the people of the country and followed a policy of Laissez faire, thinking that it was not the place of the government to intervene in the lives of the poor, thinking that they were poor because of their own fault. The British foreign policy was of isolationism; as to try and include themselves in something would only have a bad result: "British foreign policy is to lazily float down a stream, putting out a pole now and then to avoid collision". He was described by Lloyd George as "not a man but a mannerism" although the Liberal leader had been described as the best Tory weapon. ...read more.

Middle

Taff Vale Judgement: When the HoL allowed a company to sue a trade union for "loss of earnings" the TU's power was taken away, so that the working class hardly had any rights. The HoL was a mainly Conservative, which turned the workers even more against the Tories, and the Tories could have stopped the bill if they had wanted to but they didn't, so lost a lot of support from the w/ class, who subsequently turned to the Liberal party to be represented. The Boer War: This was meant to be short and effective, but proved to be long, expensive and embarrassing. 70% of those who signed up were turned away because they were considered malnutrition, which showed the need for social reform (which wouldn't come from the Conservative Party), and the war sowed that the army was in desperate need of reorganisation and improvements. ...read more.

Conclusion

At the time, however, it was considered a success. 1906 Manifesto: Their previous manifestos had always included Ireland, a topic which had ended their previous reign in parliament, so the Liberals made sure that in their manifesto there would be no mention of Ireland. There was however, mention of such things as OAP and NI, which had only been rumoured of before, and would seem very attractive to the growing w/ class voters. Reforms: The reforms of 1867 and 1884 had extended the vote to many more working class men, so that the Liberal party would get their votes, as they had been put off Conservative after Taff Vale. 1905 Balfour resignation: To prove to the public how ineffective the Liberal party would be if they were in government, Balfour resigned in 1905, before the election. The Liberal party, however, were very effective, and gained public support over this too. ...read more.

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