Peace and good will?
in What about the workers?
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The Conservatives had little option but to acquiesce in the Liberal Government’s policies but this changed with the outbreak of war. War demanded both the management of production and mass political consent, and this new politics forced Conservatives to consider, first, the current and future role of the unions in governance and, second, the party’s institutional relationship with the organised working class. In this period the party attempted to develop a Conservative trade union organisation to appeal directly to the organised working class. This organisation failed to prosper. Conservatives had to accept a growing union involvement in public policy, and although this role would decline with peace, Conservatives accepted that unions had a legitimate consultative and representative role in making public policy. Industrial militancy, with its political implications, and the by now traditional Conservative critique of the unions were strongly opposed, and there was a growing demand from within the party for dramatic measures designed to reduce union power.

What about the workers?

The Conservative Party and the organised working class in modern British politics.


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