The First Labour Government, 1924

By Richard W. Lyman | Go to book overview

VI
THE PATH TO OFFICE

WHEN Britain rubbed her eyes and awakened to the fact that the result of her electoral indecisiveness was very likely to be a Labour Government, some of her citizens succumbed to panic at the prospect. It is difficult to recapture the horror with which they foresaw the attainment of office by a party which had given such evidences of its moderation, and which was outnumbered by more than three to one in the House of Commons. The English Review was not alone in adopting a tone of Apocalyptic woe:

We stand now at a moment when the sun of England seems menaced with final eclipse. For the first time in her history the party of revolution approach their hands to the helm of the state, not only, as in the 17th Century, for the purpose of overthrowing the Crown, or of altering the Constitution, but with the design of destroying the very bases of civilised life. 1

Another observer saw Labour as "supported by foreign gold and pledged to take its orders from an international society, to put the war of classes above the safety of the Empire", while a third foresaw "the unspeakable humiliation of an anti-national government . . . able to plot and plan from the vantage ground of Downing Street". 2

Leaders in the Cassandra chorus were those same organs of the syndicated press which, by undermining Baldwin's campaign, had helped bring about the situation that now seemed so terrifying. The Daily Mail enlisted the aid of a Professor of Constitutional Law, J. H. Morgan of the University of London, to write on what a socialist Government could do to subvert the State by administrative revolution without ever resorting to legislation. Of course, the anti-socialist majority in Parliament might move to stop this administrative nightmare; said the

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The First Labour Government, 1924
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • I - The Labour Party, 1918-1923 1
  • Notes 16
  • II - The Election of 1923: the Conservatives 18
  • Notes 39
  • III - The Election of 1923: the Liberals Lloyd George and the Dragon 42
  • Notes 52
  • IV - The Election of 1923; Labour The Politics of Glorious Aspirations 53
  • Notes 67
  • V - Results of the Election of 1923 A House Divided 69
  • Notes 80
  • VI - The Path to Office 81
  • Notes 94
  • VII - Cabinet Making 96
  • Notes 107
  • VIII - Housing 110
  • Notes 129
  • IX - Unemployment The Intractable Million 131
  • Notes 154
  • X - The European Problem Year of Opportunity 157
  • Notes 181
  • XI - Russia Path of Most Resistance 184
  • Notes 207
  • XII - Labourites, Socialists and Reformers 210
  • Notes 227
  • XIII - Problems of Minority Government 230
  • Notes 245
  • XIV - The Election of 1924 Red Letter Day 248
  • Notes 262
  • XV - The Election of 1924 Dimensions of Defeat 264
  • Notes 271
  • XVI - Aftermath 272
  • Notes 281
  • Appendix A: the First Labour Ministry - (january 22 to November 4, 1924) 284
  • Appendix B: the Unsolved Mystery of The Zinoviev Letter 286
  • Notes 289
  • Bibliographical Note 290
  • Index 295
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