Assess the reasons why the Conservative party remained in power from 1951 to 1964.

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Beatrice Cohen

History – Britain

Mr Bull

TITLE: Assess the reasons why the Conservative party remained from 1951 to 1964. (25 marks)

There are many arguments as to how the Conservatives managed to remain in power for thirteen long years. The reign began when Churchill was made Prime Minister for a second time in the 1951 election. Many say that although Churchill suffered ill health and was too old a frail to be a decisive figurehead, he was made Prime Minister as a way of thanks from the British public, for being such a good wartime leader. Additionally, the Conservative party as a whole appealed to the wider population due to the influx of bright, young tory members of parliament, against the tiring, old Labour government.  Another point is that, Conservatives had recovered from the initial shock of losing the 1945 election, and reorganised its campaign in a strictly organised manner, ready to fight for seats and votes.

From 1951 until the late 1970’s, there seemed to be an apparent consensus between the Labour and Conservative parties. In terms of social policies this included, the acceptance of increased government intervention, as seen in the Beveridge report and the Welfare state. The economic policies they agreed on were Keynesianism, the idea of full employment and partnerships with trade unions. ‘The Economist’ coined the term Butskellism to describe this tendency to adopt individual political views, and create a similar consensus.

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After Churchill, people could see a clear recovery in the economy, although in comparison to Europe and the USA, the revival was moving at a slow pace. Nevertheless, improvements were in occurrence, for instance rationing books had finally been discarded, leaving society with many more economic freedoms. Also, Macmillan, the fourth consecutive Conservative minister, followed the financial strategies of his fellow members. Examples of these were Butler’s theory to operate a mixed economy and the policy of Keynesianism. The aims of these policies were to avid extreme inflation and deflation by a series of government adjustments. If inflation rose ...

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