‘Opposition parties don’t win General elections, Government lose them’ How valid is this view in relation to the 1906
British General Election?
The Liberals lapped on the conservatives weaknesses, and used that to their strengths. The leadership of Campbell-Bannerman proved as a success by throwing out accusations towards the Tories, like their methods of barbarism and ‘Chinese slavery.’ They also had young, dynamic MP’s and the gaining of Winston Churchill. The liberals opposed the tariff reform and supported free trade like many working class voters. The Tories had won 334 seats in the 1900 election but that went down to 157 seats in the 1906 election, which is a loss of 177 seats. But on the other hand in the 1900 election the Liberals had 187 seats but by 1906 election they had gone up to 401 seats, which is a gain of 214 seats! The Conservative party introduced two new acts just before this General Election which decreased their popularity. The Education Act of 1902 was an attempt by the ‘Tories’ to improve national efficiency: Britain must improve the health and well-being of the nation if it was to remain a leading world power. The act abolished school boards, which meant that taxpayers funded primary school education. Although this was a successful policy, (attendance increased from 94,000 in 1905 to 200,000 by 1914) it angered non-conformists who were outraged that their taxes were being used to fund church schools. In fact, the Act was branded 'Rome on Rates', as the Catholic Church was benefiting from taxes being paid by anti-Catholic citizens: Balfour soon had to control a revolt as 7000 people refused to pay their taxes. This rebellion shows just how unpopular this act was and reduced the amount of support for the Conservatives. The Conservative party also had a ‘Laissez Faire’ attitude, which means ‘you are on your own’ with your health and wealth. Booth and Roundtrees studies showed that 1/3 of the population were in Poverty and in the Boer...
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