The Vote: How it Was Won, and How it Was Undermined
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This is the dramatic and shocking story of the long, hard-won battle for the vote, and then of the slow erosion of its power. In a vast narrative sweep that takes us from the English Civil War to the present day, Foot traces the struggle for universal suffrage, and shows how concern for property first delayed and then fatally hobbled the movement towards parliamentary democracy. Both authoritative history and rousing polemic, this is a must-read for anyone interested in how today's political scene was shaped.
Who had fought hard for the sheep when other shepherds fled, did not trust the wolves, and especially old Mundus, whose origin was doubtful. And Cocus answered: ‘Are not the jaws of the wolves red even now with the blood of the sheep?’ To which Lemon replied loftily: ‘Cocus speaks only for himself – the council of shepherds will deal with him.’ And Bender, who had charge of the shearing and was naturally woolly in consequence, said to the wolves: ‘Let us get round a table and explore every.
Disaster and the continuing economic crisis rapidly converted Cripps to a Marxist position that seemed many miles away from his Christian origins. In opposition, he spent many hours with his new leader, George Lansbury, discussing the future of the Labour Party. He came quickly to the conclusion that the conventional view about democratic socialism – the idea that socialism could be achieved by ‘gradual supersession’ of capitalism brought about by elected Labour Governments – had been terminally.
Was vague. He was much more interested in organizing his union and defending working people from the ravages of capitalism than in replacing capitalism. In late 1929, MacDonald appointed him to the Macmillan Committee, chaired by a judge and consisting almost entirely of bankers and financiers, to investigate and recommend on the system of finance. Bevin listened carefully as the country’s top bankers and industrialists were interrogated by the Committee’s most articulate member, the economist.
The endeavour was the essence of social democracy. It was socialist because it favoured the workers and the poor. It was democratic because the landlord was the elected authority, responsible to the tenants. Much of the pride of the Labour Party was based in its stock of council houses. For all three post-war Labour Governments under Attlee, Wilson and Callaghan, council housing was a firm priority and all three encouraged and assisted councils to build more. The Blair administration took.
Opinions on the subject in the population at large, the doubt whether a call for a strike would be obeyed, the danger into which the Convention would be plunging its supporters and the belief ‘that the people themselves are the only fit judges of their right and readiness to strike work, as also of their own resources and capabilities of meeting the emergencies which such an event would entail’. The resolution then called for a committee to prepare an address on which ‘the people’ would.