Post-War British Politics of Consensus

Topics: United Kingdom, England, British Empire Pages: 5 (1670 words) Published: December 7, 2010
Post-war British Politics of Consensus
Table of contents
1. Introduction
2. Post-war consensus
3. The lack of consensus
4. Conclusion
5. Works cited
The post-war period was an extremely difficult period in the history of Great Britain. In fact, after the end of the World War II the country was practically ruined in the result of the regular bombings from the part of the German aviation and the entire infrastructure of the country was in a very poor condition. What is more important, traditional partners of the UK in international relations both political and economic, European countries, such as France, were also affected dramatically by the war and the entire continent had to recover from the disastrous consequences of the World War II. At the same time, all the countries, including the UK, perfectly realized that they would not be able to survive another military conflict of such a scale as the world war. In this respect, it was vitally important to prevent the growing tension within the society in order to decrease the threat from the part of extremist parties similar to Nazi party in Germany. As a result, the socially oriented politics targeting the minimization of tension between different classes and solution of the problem of poverty was one of the major trends in the UK politics of the post-war era. This is why this politics was called the politics of consensus since it focused on the search of compromise which could create conditions of the prosperity of all classes of British society. However, despite noble goals British governments attempted to achieve in terms of the politics of consensus, it is still possible to argue that this politics did not lead to the consensus but rather to attempts to ignore actual problems of British society which eventually resulted in the collapse of politics of consensus by 1979 (Robbins, 2004).

Politics of consensus
Basically, it is traditionally believed the after the end of the World War the official politics of the British government was characterized by consensus. It is necessary to underline that supporters of such a point of view on the British post-war politics argue that this was a characteristic of all post-war governments, i.e. governments of Labor and Conservative parties, which replaced each other in post-war era (Keylor and Bannister, 2004). In fact, this means that the politics of consensus was the general strategy of the development of the UK accepted by both major political forces of Great Britain, the Labor Party and its opponent, the Conservative party. In general, the politics of consensus was the logical choice the political elite of the UK had made just after the end of the war. It was obvious that country needed a fast and effective reconstruction in order to overcome the economic crisis which inevitably followed the end of the war because the country was dramatically affected by military actions of Germany and allies and needed some time to recover from the effects of the war. At the same time, there was a real threat of the profound crisis within British society caused by the numerous economic problems resulting from the World War II. In such a situation, the government, whether represented by the Labor Party or the Conservative Party, had to prevent the growing tension in society. Otherwise, the growing poverty would lead to the marginalization of the large part of society that could lead to its radicalization or even social revolution. Anyway, the growing poverty was one of the major reasons of the World War II. As a result, the UK government formed by the Labor Party started the politics which was defined as the politics of consensus. Basically, this politics incorporated some ideas of social justice and division of national welfare in such a way that the government could prevent the marginalization of large classes of British society. In order to meet this goal and appease the growing antagonism between rich and poor, the UK...
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