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Why did the Conservatives remain in power from 1951 to 1964?

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Introduction

Why did the Conservatives remain in power from 1951 to 1964? There are a number of reasons as to why the Conservatives were able to remain in power for over such a long period of time. Firstly, people were happy with the ways the Conservatives were running the country. Also at the time of Conservative rule, the Labour Government were not doing much to prove themselves to the country, instead they represented an unstable party who were dealing with rivalry and argumentative behavior amongst themselves. Another main reason was that at that period in history the general mood of the country was positive, people were happy with the changes made by the Conservatives and didn't feel change was necessary. Churchill's political outlook after he became Prime Minister, and that of the government as a whole, was cautious, conciliatory, and undogmatic. He had proclaimed in an election address in October 1951: 'what we need is a period of steady, stable administration ... a period of healing and revival'. In most ways Churchill was as good as his word. This meant that there was a general continuation of Labour's welfare and employment policies, and even its nationalisation programme, except for the de-nationalisation pledges already made. ...read more.

Middle

The bulk of houses constructed under the Macmillan regime still belonged to the public sector (and their standard was slightly lower than in Bevan's day); but the proportion of private houses built gradually increased during this period and throughout the fifties. This was helped by a relaxation of the licensing system and the controls over land, as well as by easier mortgage facilities. By the end of 1954 about 30 per cent of houses built were for private sale; by the end of the decade the figure was well over 50 per cent. It is true also that (by contrast with Labour's housing programme) it was the better of sections of the working class and the middle class, who gained most from the government's programme. This was a social trend that was bound to benefit the Conservative Party electorally. Housing was not the only branch of the social services where expansion took place after 1951. As Churchill pointed out: 'we have improved all the social services and we are spending more on them than any government at any time'. This was undoubtedly true. Expenditure on the social services under the Conservatives increased both in real terms and as a percentage of the total public spending. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Bevanites were not very successful in their aims, and Gaitskell won an overwhelming majority against Bevan and Morrison. It was felt that Morrison was to old for the post, and Bevan was mistrusted by most of his parliamentary colleagues. The power of Gaitskell into the party was also perhaps another reason for the loss of another election for Labour. As a party leader Hugh Gaitskell displayed all those characteristics, which had helped him to rise so swiftly within the labour Party hierarchy. Though respected, he lacked the flair and the magic, which surrounded politicians such as Churchill and Bevan. Gaitskell was essentially a man of government, with little relish and talent for the tasks of parliamentary opposition. The leader of the Conservative Government was the total opposite. Harold Macmillan dominated British politics during his years of power. Macmillan took over from Eden with Butler as his deputy. Macmillan's 'unflappability' became legendary. Macmillan was in fact intensely ambitious, purposeful, and professional politician. Macmillan's image as 'supermac' developed in this period as his election claim that, 'you've never had it so good' started to seem reasonable. His first priority was to rebuild the alliance with USA but he also visited Moscow in 1959. The United States helped Britain gain its own nuclear weapon. In return the US were granted unrestricted use of British bases. Bilkiss Bashir MR Carr ...read more.

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