Today's quote from a new book

Posted by Tory Historian Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This comes from David Torrance's Noel Skelton and the Property-Owning Democracy and concerns the founding of the 1922 Committee and the death of a coalition.

The Carlton Club meeting of 1922 was integral to the development of the Conservative Party as a more democratic organisation, and to a country struggling to come to terms with the realities of the post-war era. A revolt by a group of junior ministers was the first hint that something was afoot, and in October backbench Conservatives decided to overthrow their leader, Austen Chamberlain, and withdraw from the coalition. Following speeches from Andrew Bonar Law, a Canadian Scot, and Stanley Baldwin, a half-Scots laird who affected a 'man of the people' image, MPs voted 185 to 85 in favour of discontinuing the six-year coalition and filed out of the Pall Mall club to face the consequences. It triggered an immediate general election and marked, in effect, the beginning of modern British politics.
One has to admit that several events are described as marking the beginning of modern British politics so one need to take them with a pinch of salt. Nevertheless, there is some truth in it.

The 1922 Committee, a new institution has survived to this day and has been impossible to destroy by the party leadership. The subsequent election led to a short-lived Conservative victory but laid down the ground for a long ascendancy by the party in Parliament and its reputation for adaptability to whatever new conditions arose.

Curiously enough, members of the dying coalition had assumed that it was they who would be the symbol of the new post- World War I politics and of the new world that had emerged from the war and the peace treaties of 1919 and 1920, not to mention the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922. How wrong they were. This was not just the end of that particular coalition but the beginning of the death throes for the Liberal Party.


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