Political Developments

Political Developments

Emergence of New Political Groups

  • Labour Party: Founded in 1900, the Labour Party was a coalition of trade unions and socialist parties. A critical political development, it soon rivalled the Liberals and Conservatives.
  • Women’s suffrage movements: The campaign for women’s right to vote became stronger, leading to the establishment of organisations like the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) and Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) with prominent figures like Emmeline Pankhurst.

Constitutional Crisis

  • People’s Budget: Introduced by Liberal Chancellor Lloyd George in 1909, it was designed to redistribute wealth and fund social welfare initiatives. Rejected by the House of Lords, leading to a constitutional crisis.
  • The Parliament Act of 1911 curtailed the power of the House of Lords to block legislation, effectively ending unelected veto power over democratically decided laws.

Social Reforms

  • Liberal Welfare Reforms: Between 1906-1914, the Liberal government introduced several social welfare measures. These included free school meals, unemployment and health insurance among others, signalling a shift toward the welfare state.
  • National Insurance Act: The landmark legislation of 1911 aimed to provide insurance for workers in case of sickness and unemployment.

Impact of World War I

  • Representation of the People Act: The war effort helped change attitudes towards suffrage. The 1918 Act extended voting rights to certain women over 30 and all men over 21.
  • Tragic consequences of war led to demands for change on home-front. The Education Act (1918) and the Housing and Town Planning Act (1919) were ground-breaking legislations that aimed to address social issues.
  • War increased the state’s intervention in industry, working conditions and wages, paving the way for future reforms.

Irish Home Rule Crisis

  • Rising demand for an independent Irish parliament led to the Home Rule Crisis.
  • However, the implementation of the Home Rule Act of 1914 was suspended due to World War I, leading to the Easter Rising of 1916 and subsequent Irish War of Independence.

Remember, while revising these key political developments, keep in mind the socio-cultural backdrop and global influences during this period. Understanding causation and consequence along with change and continuity will add depth to your interpretations.