The results of the 1945 General Election, in which votes took a long time to count because of the numbers that were still overseas, were declared on July 26: an astonishing though not altogether surprising (if I may use such a paradox) landslide victory for the Labour Party, led by Clement Attlee who, as Deputy Prime Minister during the war, managed to spread many of the party's ideas and create the necessary structures even before he withdrew from the Coalition and demanded and election. This blog has referred to this in a posting on Robert Crowcroft's Attlee's War.

The reasons for that victory were many. Debates about it have gone on since that day and will go on for a long time. These debates and discussions are of importance because they have shaped and will continue to shape Conservative Party politics.

Was it the memory of the "heroes" coming back after the Great War to broken promises? Was it the desire never to repeat the Depression of the early thirties? Was it Churchill's undoubted lack of popularity but how popular was Attlee? Was it the dishonesty of Labour accusing the Conservatives in not seeing the dangers in Hitler's Germany while they and the unions had tried to prevent rearmament as long as they could? Was it the lack of Conservative Party structures as so many active members were still serving one way or another? Was it the lack of Conservative ideology to withstand that of the Labour Party? Or was it simply the regular exhaustion the electorate feels with one party, too long in power? As the saying goes: discuss.


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