By Chris Cook (auth.)
Chris cook dinner lifts the lid at the 'third Party;' charting their attention-grabbing trip over the past century, from the landslide victory of 1906 less than Asquith, through their descent into divisions and decline within the interwar years, to in-depth research of the 2010 British Election and their go back to executive within the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.
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Extra resources for A Short History of the Liberal Party: The Road Back to Power
Nonconformist anger was brought to a level not seen since the Bulgarian atrocities. Both CampbellBannerman and Asquith sank their differences over the Boer War in defence of the Liberal principles now under attack. The Education Act of 1902, followed by the argument over the tax on the importation of corn and later by the 1904 Licensing Act, represented attacks on Liberal principles that had been part of the party’s heritage. In the face of these measures the party found a new unity. Rosebery’s call for a review of the basic philosophy of the party could be forgotten.
Liberal criticism of the government’s handling of the conﬂict (Campbell-Bannerman’s ‘methods of barbarism’ had proved a telling phrase) became a viable political platform, and the Liberals were able to capitalise on the criticisms put forward by the Commission of Inquiry into the war. Meanwhile, other events were to aid the reviving fortunes of the Liberal Party. The most important was the Education Act of 1902. This legislation was to provide the ﬁrst glimmering of a Liberal dawn. It not only opened up divisions within the Unionist Cabinet (Chamberlain found the approach adopted by the government particularly unpalatable), 34 A Short History of the Liberal Party but also roused the grassroots of the Liberal Party in defence of the control of primary education by the school boards.
For a time, it seemed that the government might collapse and an election be imminent. The Liberals, in fact, were to be disappointed, both in their expectation of an early general election and in their hopes of an alliance with the Conservative Free Traders. Although negotiations took place between Devonshire, Earl Spencer and Asquith The Liberals in Opposition: 1900–1906 37 in December 1903 and January 1904, they eventually collapsed over the vexed question of the 1902 Education Act. But though Liberals were disappointed in their hope of an early general election, the by-elections continued to bring them fresh victories.
A Short History of the Liberal Party: The Road Back to Power by Chris Cook (auth.)