10 October 2009

Who were represented by the UK's political parties 50 years ago?

In 1959, the Liberal Party only had 6 members of parliament, compared with the Labour party's 277 MPs and the Conservative Party's 344.

In this clip from the run-up to the 1959 election, the then Liberal leader, Jo Grimond, tries to define a place for his party between the employers/Conservatives and the workers/Labour.

The wording of the question by interviewer Robert Harris reminds us just how clear and simple politics were 50 years ago.

As for where we are today, three questions spring to mind:
  1. Was Grimond's answer merely wishful thinking (given that the Liberals still had only 6 MPs after the 1959 election), or a perceptive forecast of where politics was going?
  2. Are the Conservative and Labour parties still closer to the employer/worker divide than either of them is willing to admit.
  3. Now that the Liberal Democrats have 10 times more MPs than 50 years ago, does this mean that Grimond's 'new class' has indeed grown - only much more slowly than he was hoping for?
(P.S. More questions added in next post HERE).

1 comment:

reyes ceo said...

That's great for history students who study political science.