Presentation on theme: "The Political Parties Before 1914. The Liberals The Liberals were traditionally the most popular party in Scotland up until the outbreak of the Great."— Presentation transcript:
The Liberals The Liberals were traditionally the most popular party in Scotland up until the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, but they were under threat from the 1880s because The 1884 Parliamentary Reform Act gave the vote to more working class men. There emerged new socialist parties who appealed more directly to the working class. The issue of Irish Home Rule divided the party, with those against Home Rule splitting off and forming the Liberal Unionist Party which campaigned against Home Rule, land reform and any threat to the Empire and free trade.
The Liberals Fight Back The mainstream Liberal Party, eg Gladstone, supported land reform, a key issue throughout Scotland, especially in the Highlands. Irish Catholics supported Liberal policy on Irish Home Rule and this was important in areas in and around Glasgow and West Fife where many were of Irish stock and/or Catholic. The majority of Scottish workers were still outside the more left-wing and radical trade union movement.
Scottish Liberals and Irish Home Rule (Gladstone and Parnell)
Cont. Early Scottish socialism had many policies in common with Liberalism, and many voters found it difficult to see a distinction and justify severing traditional loyalties. Liberal reforms (1906-14) delivered pensions, unemployment and sickness benefits, as well as improvements in education and employment law. The Liberals seemed to challenge the power of the landowners/aristocracy at a time of great poverty and hardship throughout Britain.
“New Liberals” Asquith, Lloyd George and Churchill
Cont. The Liberals had highly- effective organisation and campaigning, appealing to a wide range of people - The Scottish Women’s Liberal Federation had 25,000 members in 174 branches by 1914. - The Young Scots Society had 10,000 members in 50 branches by 1914, effectively and aggressively targeting marginal constituencies with leafleting, speaking tours and open-air demonstrations. They focussed on key issues such as poverty, land reform and education and Irish Home Rule (though legislation was shelved when war broke out.)
The Conservatives Conservative support in Scotland had always been much smaller than that for the Liberals. The Conservatives were seen as the party of protectionism, the landowning aristocracy and, therefore, as opponents of land reform, both in Scotland and Ireland, with whom Scotland had a strong and enduring connection. The Liberal Unionists merged with the Conservatives in 1912 to form the Scottish Unionist Party, which was particularly strong in the Protestant/Orange areas in the West of Scotland and resisted any moves towards Irish Home Rule (which they feared meant “Rome rule”.)
The Labour Party The Independent Labour Party was founded in 1893 and merged with the Scottish Labour Party (est.1888) in 1895. The Scottish Trades’ Union Congress formed in 1897. The ILP and STUC formed the Scottish Workers’ Parliamentary Election Committee in 1900. The ILP affiliated to the Labour Representation Committee in 1900, which later became the Labour Party.
The Labour Party Promoted socialist ideals, such as workers’ control of industry as a whole, better health and safety for miners, an 8-hour day, votes for all men and women and home rule for Ireland and, to a lesser extent, Scotland. Seen by many Scots as too radical and untested, though there was some increase in support at a time of great unemployment and industrial unrest.
A Campaign for Keir Hardie, an early Labour M.P.
Labour not taken seriously yet? (Cartoon from 1909)
John Wheatley, Tom Mann, James Maxton- Key Socialists
The Situation by 1914 1906 election Liberals-58 Scottish M.P.s Conservatives and Unionists- 12 M.P.s, (declining to 9 in Jan. 1910) Labour Party- 2 M.P.s (increasing to 3 by 1914). The Liberal Party, though it struggled to maintain its power in Britain as a whole, seemed almost unchallenged in Scotland in 1914, yet would virtually be destroyed within a decade.