• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What led to the breakdown of the post war political consensus?

Extracts from this document...


What led to the breakdown of the post war political consensus? The post war political consensus as a term meant the union between the conservatives and the Labour party on issues including economic and social policy. It is said that the consensus was starting to crumble away from as early as 1968. This was down to several different reasons which all played a factor in the over all breakdown. After the 1951 conservative win in the general election, little happened to change the agreements that were made by both parties but nonetheless continued to work along the same lines as the consensus, but for a long time there was always said to be several differences between the two parties, just because they implemented the same policies does not mean that they were always working on the same lines. In fact their styles, attitudes and emphasis all differentiated in the long run. By the 1970's, Britain's living standards were seen as much improved and generally there was little discontent among the people but on the economic level things was not so brilliant. The economic decline on all levels was starting to really show firstly beginning with the welfare state, the expenses that were needed to fund it espicailly the NHS were very great and with the lack of extra capital not present it became a major issue for discussion. ...read more.


The post war consensus was now being used as a scapegoat for all the many issues that were arising. The Edward Heath government were now looking for fresh new ideas on ways to improve the economy and came up with the idea that we must 'encourage enterprise and the free market if our economy was ever to improve', not too long after he made this statement he dropped it and went back to 'a return to Keynesians with a far more neo-liberal face.' The conservative government called a general election in 1974. The outcome of that election saw the labour party back in control and it came at a time when many world domestic crises were at the very beginning, the party was unable to manage the many ongoing problems such as inflation. Keynesian theories were now being questioned because of the concerns with the ever growing economy and its struggle associated with it. The 'winter of discontent' was a justification by Margaret Thatcher that the consensus was not working which paved the way for Thatcher's New Right Strategy. Keynes ideas were now being attacked from all corners because they were not seen as reliable anymore but then again they were said 'to have been misused' in context. It was in the year of 1976, that Britain really was a state of emergency, there was no money and it was needed urgently in order to mend the already ruined economy so money had ...read more.


She would introduce legislation that would seriously put a halt on their powers and the defeat of this strike just proved this. At this point in time the trade unions were 'dead.' She also wanted to restructure the whole of the mixed economy into a private market based economy through a program of privatisation which she eventually believed would make sure that everything was in private hands rather than in those of the public. Everything that Thatcher hand in mind would formulate the government agenda for the many years that the Conservatives were in power. In conclusion, the consensus provided Britain with many years of stable economy and a happy nation. It must be said that even though the consensus did eventually crumble away over more than 10 years, it was the basis of the political agenda up until the mid seventies and that on its own has to be worth something. Both political parties wanted to achieve 'social citizenship' based on the Michael Beveridge report of 1941 who was a liberal and the person who created the idea of a welfare state and with the Keynes ideas, the Atlee government of 1945 implemented it later. These were known as the consensus years. The disadvantages out weigh the advantages at the time because of the painful consequences that the consensus years suffered, but that does not actually mean that none of it ever happened for a reason either. 'Nothing is more obstinate than a fashionable consensus' 'To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukaemia with leeches' ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. What Are The Key Elements Of Thatcherism? To What Extent Was It A Reaction ...

    Unions, in other words were responsible for reducing the competitiveness of British industry and should be blamed for Britains economic decline. They also believed that incomes policies were a cause of inflation rather than a cure for it. Inflation could be reduced by making agreements with trade unions.

  2. Why Did the Post-war Consensus Breakdown?

    The New Towns Act of 1946 helped to solve overcrowding in cities. People were encouraged to move to 12 new towns, eight of which were designed to absorb excess population in London. Council house building was encouraged and subsidised. Despite a shortage of materials, 800,000 had been built by 1950.

  1. To what extent was there a 'post war consensus' between 1945-1970.

    continued to rise steadily between 1951-1970, whether Conservatives or Labour were in power, both as a proportion of public spending, and of Gross Domestic Product. The Labour party nationalised many industries, including fuel, power, and transport during 1945-1951 and forced a mixed economy.

  2. Why is corruption so prominent in the contemporary Latin American political scene?

    For a region with around 400,000 official workers, almost 90,000 are employed in some form by the local government. Similar situations can be seen across Argentina and other Latin American states. (30). Modern sultanistic rulers tend to derive their power from existing structures at the centre of the polity.

  1. This assignment identifies and discusses the major social and political trends expected to affect ...

    Social Welfare The department of social services provides a comprehensive grant programme to address social relief and distress. By definition social assistance means assistance in the form of grants or financial support provided by the government. Each of these grants has a set of criteria with which applicants must comply.

  2. What did the post-war consensus in British politics amount to? Why did it ...

    The Labour government of 1964, which had promised so much radicalism before the election, found itself needing to defend a majority of five. Radicalism was thrown clean out of the window in favour of party political considerations. Kenneth Morgan has called Wilson's style of government "the politics of survival."

  1. What was the post war 'consensus'?

    This was correct to the point that labour and conservative views were now being referred to as 'Butskellism rather than socialism and conservatism.' He was also quite often referred to as the 'man with the plan' when it came to the attention of the general public.

  2. The American Civil War

    Disgusted with the heel dragging of Trist, Polk had him recalled but was rebuffed. As Bailey says, "Trist, grasping a fleeting opportunity to negotiate," finally signed the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo on February 2, 1848 (391). The treaty recognized Texas as being a part of America, and granted all of Mexico's

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work