By Jordan Cochrane The idea of a post-war consensus has been used by historians and political commentators to describe a period of general agreement between the two main political parties between and The writer who popularised the phrase, Paul Addison, later admitted that he had exaggerated the political centrism of the era. The first is that between the two main political parties there were innumerable confrontations, particularly during the s and onwards. There is no denying that the welfare state acted as a centre-point accepted by both parties, however clashes included disagreements over foreign policy, nationalisation and British membership of the European Economic Community EEC.
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The period of - is usually seen as the period of consensus in British politics, having seen a mutual agreement between the two main parties about the general direction of their policies. The agreement could be seen in fields as economic policy, social policy and foreign policy.
But was this a time of visionaries with a clear picture of the consensus or was it a period of confusion and alternating policies with no specific direction?
I will try to shed light about this issue by having a closer look to the role of the civil service, macroeconomic policy, interest groups and foreign policy of that time.
post-war liberal consensus, was trade distorting.8 Thus, export credit insurers, private and public, began looking to the Berne Union not only to pool underwriting experiences but . Carty and Stewart (, 65) note, there has been so little systematic comparison of provincial party politics that " it is only possible to sketch in a general fashion the variety that now marks. Whether or not there truly was a ‘post war consensus’ in British politics from to is a highly debatable topic of which historians can often appear to be in two minds about; on one hand, Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson infamously described the period as ‘Thirteen years wasted.
The situation in in Britain was marked by the end of World War II as well as the aftermath of the economic crisis of the 30s. The electorate has seen high unemployment and social deprivation in the 30s, often regarded as related to a too liberal capitalism, and it has as well perceived some success of government intervention during World War II, and has therefore finished a leftward shift of its policy preferences in It was hence the labour party, who won the election in a landslide victory.
Attlee was a visionary, and his government implemented the welfare state in Britain, consisting of some revolutionary policies at that time, e. Due to the leftward shift in the public opinion after the war, the conservatives had no choice but to adapt to the new situation in order to have a chance in future elections.
Therefore, except for some denationalizations, the conservatives kept the welfare state and its achievements after their victory in This common commitment to a more leftward oriented policy is commonly seen as the time of consensus.The post-war consensus is a historian's model of political co-operation in post The concept states that there was a widespread consensus that covered support for coherent package of policies that were developed in the s "Historiography of Post-War British History and Politics", major books annotated; Timothy Heppel, "The Theory of.
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Consensus Government Politics. This analysis seeks to evaluate arguments surrounding the issue of whether this was a period characterised by consensus, and if there was a convergence between the two leading parties, was it more or less than usual.
more than at any one time in post-war British politics, the underlying ideologies of .