South Park Me

It's The Sun Wot Won It

And wot would an entry about the British fourth estate be without one of my favourite comedy moments making yet another appearance on this blog:

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I'm not sure which is more startling: that The Express supported Labour in 2001 or that the (then Manchester) Guardian supported the Tories in 1955.
Quite! If anything, I would've expected The Express to support Labour in 1997 (if at all). As for 1955, it would seem there was only lukewarm support for Labour in 1945 after the war from the Manchester Guardian. Their main support appears to be for The Liberals, who in 1951 stood in only about 100-odd seats compared to the 475 in 1950 (a year earlier). A similar 110 stood in 1955, so it would appear the Guardian was opposed to Socialism and seeing as the Liberals couldn't form the government, picked the Tories as the lesser of two evils!
The Manchester Guardian was always traditionally a Liberal paper, but in 1955 I'd have expected their second-best option to have been Labour. But then I don't know much about the politics of the period.
From a book about Churchill and the 1951 election:
    "Churchill did not forget the Liberal vote. He took the extraordinary step of delivering a speech on behalf of his old friend Lady Violet Bonham-Carter*, the Liberal candidate for Colne Valley. Even though the local Conservative party had agreed not to contest the seat, the appearance of a Tory Prime Minister on a Liberal platform was a strange sight. Naturally Churchill discoursed the common ground between Liberalism and Conservatism. The following week the Manchester Guardian, which had refused to endorse the Conservatives in the previous general election, declared in favour of a Churchill Government."
The Tories won the election with a majority of just 17, which would not have been possible without the Liberals standing in only 109 seats. This resulted in the Liberal vote falling from 9.1% to 2.5% and just 6 MPs. the book goes on to say:
    "Churchill had hoped at first to avoid a Party Government and form a coalition with the Liberals. The Liberal leader, Clement Davies, was offered the Ministry of Education - a portfolio, it must be said, of no great importance in Churchill's eyes. Davies consulted other senior Liberals - including Lady Violet Bonham-Carter - but they were strongly opposed and the plan fell through. Churchill still hoped to add a flavour of Edwardian Liberalism by including in his Government both a Lloyd George and an Asquith. Gwilym Lloyd George was appointed once more to the Ministry of Food, an office he had previously held in the wartime Coalition. But Cyril Asquith, the judge and younger son of the former Prime Minister, refused the Lord Chancellorship.

    Churchill's wooing of the Liberals was a sign of his desire to form a moderate and broadly-based Government."
Churchill then made way for Eden six weeks before the 1955 general election.

(* Violet Bonham-Carter was of course the daughter of Liberal PM Herbert Asquith, Churchill's closest female friend, besides his wife(!), and the grandmother of the actress Helena Bonham-Carter. Mother-in-law too to the future Liberal leader, Jo Grimond!)
Fascinating. IIRC at one time early in the 20th century Churchill had for a while deserted the Conservatives for the Liberals. I suppose that for the first 60 years or so of the 20th century the Liberal Party was a far less left-oriented party than it subsequently became.
Good memory! He crossed the floor in 1904, and then returned back to the Tories in 1925 (although not in as straightforward a manner, as he stood first as an Independent Anti-Socialist in a 1923 by-election, and then as a Constitutionalist (with Tory support) a year later, before finally re-joining the Conservatives)! Interestingly, the book I quoted above argues that although he switched sides, twice, unlike the parties themselves, his politics never really changed throughout the period of switching parties.

As for The Liberals, this is a good point. Until the 1974 elections, they had virtually been driven into political obscurity, but the subsequent defections that created the SDP in 1981, the establishment of The Alliance for electoral purposes, and eventually the merging into The Lib Dems, certainly shifted the party further to the centre-left, than the space it had occupied before and immediately after the Second World War.

Edited at 2014-11-18 07:34 pm (UTC)