• 04/02 CM 03

     [04/02 CM 03]


    > Three acts: 1906, 1907, 1908. Asquith allowed to make socio-economic policies.

    > How liberals came to power ? They came to power in January 1906 with UK General Elections. The Liberals won a “landslide” victory (victoire écrasante). For the first time Labour got a pretty good result, but the Liberals got an overall majority. Liberals 377 seats, Irish Nat. 83 seats, Labour 53 seats, Cons 157 seats. The Liberals were able to do exactly what they wanted to do because of their very comfortable majority. It's a very agitated period in politics. They wanted to be prepared for war.

    > For example the Liberals adopted a law which made possible the right to vote for women. The people who critized this law called it the cat & mouse act. The Liberals were suddenly philantropist, people who love people. The measures they adopted after 1908 were about coal mining. The situation of the poorest workers, what is called the over-exploited industry or Sweated industry: there is a lot of competition between the workers, the wages were very low. For these categories (the poorest of the poor, the worst category of workers in the most dangerous situation): a certain degree of health insurance.

    > The social reforms of the liberal government: they had to and they had the power to do it.

    > Very serious political consquencies: it's going to eventually suscitate a constitutionnal crisis. So the first thing that the lib wanted to do was to adopt the Old Age Pension Act in 1908. Very sensitive subject because very poor old people stop working only when they could no longer work. The family or if they didn't have one: work house; had to take care of them, but it was hard for the poorest. Politically the Liberals needed to do that because of the emergence of Labour, so if the Liberals wanted to compete to attract the workers voters, they had to be seen doing something significant for the population. They needed to do things that would make the Liberals look better that the Conservatives and the Labour. For people (very poor old people) earning less than 12 shillings a week, over the age of 70, could receive help from the state of 5 shillings a week. This was the first socio-economic measure of giving money to people for nothing. People didn't have to contribute. If central government is giving money the money has to come from somewhere: general taxations → income tax. That was conter-productive to tax even the category of workers. The only solution was to tax the richs to finance social measures for the very poor.

    > They also had to tax people to be prepared for the war (like boats: DREADNOUGHT (peur de rien) = name for battleship). They wanted to finance the building of 8 of these battleship. But obviously the publicity of the government were centralized on the poor.

    More money for battleship than for the poor.

    The problem of the People's Budget was that the richs were more taxed. And of course they were not agree with that. Traditionnaly the Liberals didn't represent the poorest, or the aristocracy. So what they needed to do was to decide to tax the richs in general: you cannot distinguish people, you have to go threw universal measures, or it will be called discrimination, so they taxed richs people and very richs people. David Lloyd George was in charge to design the People's Budget, as he was the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

    > “Laissez-faire”

    > Socio-logical, socio-political spirit of this project: tax on alcohol and tobacco. The income tax was going to be increased by 2% for those earning more than 3 000 pounds a year. Another supertax of 2.5% for the super richs (like “impôt sur la fortune”). And additionnaly to that an increase in death duties: if death duties incrased, they might have to sell some of the land to pay for the taxations. And the profits made from the sale of lands would be taxed: capital-gains. Together all these new measures, included the People's Budget, were enough to finance the battleship and the poor measures.

    > It was a direct threat to the lifestyle of richs people. The richs of course, aristocrats in particular, were against this. Money bill every year: when this bill went to the Lords, the Lords refused to adopt it. Now in theory it's the House of Commons who has the legitimacy to decide on laws. But the UK doesn't have a written constitution, so in this case the Lords blocked the People's Budget. This provoqued a Constitutionnal Crisis, which clearly was the expression of class conflict. In January 1910, the Liberal government decided to call for a general election to confirm their legitimacy in front of the Lords, the Lords should respect the convention and be second. Second general election in december 2010, and the second victory of the Liberals, and the Lords still didn't want to adopt the People's Budget. The monarch and the government decided that if the Lords would persist, they would lose all influence and power. After that threat the Lords gave in, after 2 years refusing that law.



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