Amateurs and Professionals in British Politics

Amateurs and Professionals in British Politics

Amateurs and Professionals in British Politics

Amateurs and Professionals in British Politics


This book is concerned with the general problem of recruitment and selection of leaders in a democratic society. The subject is investigated by studying the careers of members of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom in the years from 1918 through 1955 and in an Appendix examining the results of the general election of 1959. A detailed statistical analysis is made of the election records of 7,478 people who were candidates in general elections and by-elections, 1918 through 1955. The methods and purposes of the study are set forth in the first chapter.

Collection of data and travel required to interview people whose records were studied were made possible by a generous grant from the Ford Foundation of New York, made in December 1954 for two years and subsequently extended to June 1958. Without this grant the research could not have been done, and I wish to express my sincere thanks to the Foundation. I wish to acknowledge particularly the advice and suggestions I received from Mr. Dyke Brown, Vice-President of the Foundation. I wish also to acknowledge the aid and assistance of President J. E. W. Sterling, of Stanford University, who gave the support of the University to the applications for the grant.

The research for the analysis of the 1959 election, which is presented in Appendix I, was aided by a grant from the Committee on Research in Public Affairs of Stanford University.

The staffs of the Hoover Library and of the Reference Division and Document Room of the Main Library at Stanford University were unfailingly helpful, not only in putting the resources of these libraries at my disposal but also in locating and securing materials from other libraries.

The Records Bureau of Stanford University processed IBM cards for me; and the staff of the Bureau gave me invaluable advice on the techniques of designing and using cards.

I am deeply indebted to a number of people in England. Sir Michael Fraser, C.B.E., Director of the Conservative Research Department, and Carol Johnson, M.P., Secretary of the Parliamentary Labour Party, gave me advice, aid, and useful suggestions. The Rt. Hon. the Lord Molson gave me assistance in a variety of ways, particularly in locating back files of reference works. Members of the staff . . .

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