It was the contrast between Douglas – Home and Wilson that led to the labour Party’s victory in 1964. Explain why you agree or disagree with this view?

Topics: Harold Wilson, Conservative Party, Harold Macmillan Pages: 3 (854 words) Published: February 9, 2014
It was the contrast between Douglas – Home and Wilson that led to the labour Party’s victory in 1964. Explain why you agree or disagree with this view

The contrast between Alec Douglas – Home and Charles Wilson was a key influence which led the Labour party to victory in 1964, but many other factors influenced the result e.g the failures and successes of both Conservative and Labour parties. On the day of the result, Labour won by the narrowest of margins. Labour took 317 seats, giving them a majority of just four and the smallest since 1847. Although Labour enjoyed a 3.5% swing from the conservatives, their share of the vote did not actually increase. However, the Tory turnout was two million down on 1959.

In 1964, Macmillan, who had hoped to lead the Tories into the next election, resigned the premiership due to ill health. When the Conservatives chose the aristocratic Sir Alec Douglas-Home, as their new leader, many say it was a gift to labour. Douglas-Home was a part of the establishment and came into power via Macmillan appointing him, his skills being in foreign affairs having been the foreign secretary. One major problem before coming into power for Douglas-Home was as he was a Lord he could not be a member of parliament therefore he had to renounce his lordship, furthermore many members of parliament and the public where nervous as he lacked experience in the House of Commons. Like many members of the cabinet 10 out of 23 to be exact attended Eton as schoolboys and being a member of the establishment as well he did not appeal to the public. One key fault Douglas-Home committed was when he openly admitted that he did not understand economics “There are two problems in my life. The political ones are insoluble and the economic ones are incomprehensible”.

Moreover on the other hand Harold Wilson was a much different candidate. Wilson had been elected Labour leader following the unexpected and untimely death of Hugh Gaitskell in 1962. A...
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