To What Extent Was the Tariff Reform Act Issue the Main Reason That Lost the Tories the 1906 Election?

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It is clear that there were a number of reasons that caused the Tories to loose the 1906 election. One reason was the tariff reform act but there were many others such as the Boer war which went on from 1899 to 1902. The Boer War took place In South Africa under the command of the then Prime minister Lord Salisbury and was mainly started to gain access to South Africa’s cheap raw materials, especially gold and to add another colony to the empire as the conservatives who were in control were all for the British empire and very patriotic. Before the War England was in control of cape colony in South Africa which was below the two Boer colonies (Rhodesia and the Orange Free State) and was also in control of Zimbabwe which was above the two. These two colonies were once controlled by the Dutch but they had pulled out and given the two colonies independence. This was even more of a reason for England to take over as now the colonies were independent the Dutch would not come to their aid. The take over was expected to be quick and fast and take no longer than 5 months seeing as the colonies were made up of villages and farmers against the might of the British army. The war did not go to plan and these so called farmers put up a strong fight by using guerrilla warfare. A war that was expected to last 5 months ended up lasting 3 years and along with it came a huge loss of life with around 20,000 British soldiers dying. This news was not taken well back in England and the war was classed as a huge disaster. Also the way in which the war was won was treated with disgust too. With desperation setting in, in order to stomp out this guerrilla warfare Lord Kitchener burned down villages and put all Boers in prison camps. The conditions in these camps were awful and many people caught diseases such as cholera and typhoid and many died of malnutrition. This news got back to England and many voters were angered in the way at which the Boers were being treated. What made the war even worse for the conservatives was that there was far less gold In the Boer miens than they had thought. The war had cost around £250,000,000 and there was no were near that amount of gold to repay back the money spent on the war. The failures of the Boer war then led on to the national efficiency debate (another important factor) Concern about poverty in Britain and anxiety that Britain was in decline as a World power led to the idea that Britain had to improve its efficiency by taking steps to improve the quality of the workforce. The main reason that brought about the debate was the because of the difficulty of finding fit young men to fight in the Boer war. For example in Manchester out of the 11,000 men that volunteered for the war, 8000 were rejected due to failing the medical. The Boer war left many in Britain with doubts about the quality of the working class and about their ability to carry out tasks at work and in battle. This also led onto a research by Seebohm Rowntree and Charles Booth which revealed that poverty was even more widespread than thought with 30 % of England being in poverty and 10% being in chronic poverty. With the majority of the working class in such poor condition, and this is shown by the fact that Germany and the USA has overtaken Britain’s economy it brought worries of what would happen if England went to war. And with the threat of Germany who had the biggest army in the world it was now a major worry. But even with these huge worries with the working class and their poor health Arthur Balfour still did nothing and stuck with the idea of Laisses faire and ignored the problem. Another issue to come from the Boer war was the Chinese slave issue. After the Boer war a severe labour shortage arose and to combat this the British government high commissioner agreed to allow mine workers to import 50,000 Chinese workers on low wages. These Chinese workers who the liberals...
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