"The Budget is Merely the Culmination of a Design Deliberately Adopted and Steadily Pursued" - Discuss.

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Laura Westwood

“The Budget is Merely the Culmination of a Design Deliberately

Adopted and Steadily Pursued”

     This quote is referring to the constitutional conflict between the democratically elected party, the Liberals, and the House of Lords.  The conflict arose due to the fact that the un elected party, the conservatives were able to block legislation from passing through the House of Lords, putting a strain on the British democratic constitution.

     The quote is basically implying that the people’s Budget of 1909 was a plan or strategy made by the Liberals to reduce the power of the House of Lords.  It was felt by some that the budget was not introduced to help the British population, but its ulterior motive was to provoke the House of Lords into rejecting.  However, the Liberals insisted differently, saying that it was merely for social reform.

     This argument can be split into two halves.  Firstly the idea that the budget was a deliberate provocation of the House of Lords, which is in agreement with the Quote.  

One of the Conservative’s main arguments was that the Liberals had no electoral mandate to pass this Act.  They had not legal or moral power given to them to propose and pass the legislation, as they had never mentioned the People’s Budget during the election campaign.  The supporters were voting for their proposals concerning Taff Vale and Chinese Slavery etc.

     The Lords had previously shown that they were not taking on their role as ‘watchdog of the constitution’ and were simply looking after their own by stopping any Bills that may have affected them.  Examples of this are the ‘Licensing Bill’, which was rejected as it removed compensation from pub owners who should receive it.  The Conservative supporters did not agree with this, and therefore it was not passed.  Another example was the ‘Scottish Land Bill,’ which was rejected as all of the power of the Lords was tied up in their wealth, part of their wealth accumulated from the great deal of land which they owned.  This Bill would have attacked this and therefore would have attacked their power.  

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     These losses made the Liberals lose confidence. The House of Lords had a veto on all Bills passed by the House of Commons, so by Law they weren’t doing anything wrong, but morally they were, as Liberals supporters would not be receiving the elected parties reforms.  This was the basis of the idea of ‘Filling the cup’, which was a Liberal plan to build upon their rejections to prove that the House of Lords was acting unconstitutionally.  Lloyd George felt that the more Bills that were rejected the clearer it would become to the people about the actions ...

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