• 28/01 CM 02

     [28/01 CM 02]

    The situation of the working class over the 19th C.
    Britain find itself with a certain number of problems: which generate possible disturbances of the economic system. How to regulate the situation of unemployed workers ?

    The institutionnal arrangement for these sanitations policies: local policies could decide to create a new tax and to allocate the revenue from that taxe to (créer les égoûts). Locally the municipal council voted in favour.

    Parliament recognize that something must be done, but at the same time they don't force the local authorities to do it. It means in particular that when conservatives are in power, that won't be done because the conservatives represent the richs, they don't want to pay more taxes. In some places things are done, in others they aren't.

    Because of these problems, working class people wanted to get organised. The people charter (la charte du peuple), they want the right to vote. After that trade-unions (usually trade-unions are for most qualified workers) were not authorized for low-skill workers. Mostly the 19th c was without trade-unions. Then late in the 19th c people were authorized to have trade-unions. But the upper class of course didn't want the workers to be organized.

     Central government reflected and represented the basics interests of the rulling classes: employers, capitalists, entrepreneurs, and the aristocracy. The right to vote for male voters was a really slow process. By the time we get to 1906, the UK find itself with a number of serious problems: Slums houses (taudis, habitat insalubre), which meant in particular it could be a lack of sanitations: lack of ventilation (cook and heat up the food with coal, and sometimes the ventilations wasn't enough, the smoke and the dust made people suffer); people threw their excrements in the street. People lived in really bad conditions, and they worked a lot in unsafe and unhygienic conditions. That is why the working people wanted to get organized.

     By the end of the 19th C things are getting better. The Social Democratic Federation and the Independent Labour Party (social party). Fabian Society (group of intellectual scientists, philosophes, university lecturers...). They believe in gradual change, they hope for a political representation, a parliamentary represent, and government which actually cares about the lowest classes. 3 parties now: the Cons, the Lib-Dem, and the Labour funded in 1906. The Cons didn't want to hear about a Labour party, it was the party of tradition and stability. The Lib-Dem represented mostly the entrepreneurs, the capitalists, it was a party for change: policy of liberalism, doctrine of non-interventionism (“laissez-faire”), key of the liberals. They were facing this threat coming from the Labour party. The Liberal party seeing that Labour people who wanted to be represented in parliament, offered to take a deal: the Liberal-Labour pact: In general election the local liberal party will offer a seat to a Labour candidate, because they know (more or less) that the labour candidate in industrial area will get a lot of vote. So they are trying to incorporate the labour candidates in the Liberal party, in order to survive as the liberal party. The Labour party could use the Liberal party as a vehicule to be represented on the Parliament. After that the Labour party would now see representation for itself.

     But the Labour party pursued an independent politicial career. In the long run it was a serious threat for the liberal party. In the 1920~30, the liberal party almost disappeared. The Labour party was now the 2nd party.

     The first period 1906-1908 the first PM of the period was a man named Campbell-Bannerman (died in 1908). He wasn't a charismatic character, but still a few things were done: acts of Parliament which all deal with children. Children's conditions was something which attract a lot of sympathy from more classes. It's a sensitive topic. Was also the problem that many countries in Europe was making effort to improve children's conditions. In the 20th c, in Prussia, Germany, were educating their children better, in France they were trying to do the same. Not that everybody knew that war was going to happen, but they knew something was going on. This is a part of the reasons why the situation of the children was a problem.

     The Education Act (provision/supply of meals) 1906: enable some school to provide food to the poorest children, they were developping malnutrition (lack of calories, lactose,...) which bring deseases. A lot of children were suffering of a bad diet. A labour mp drafts a bill by himself and proposed it as a individual MP. Because the condition of children was such a sensitive topic agreed to the proposal of that indiviudal MP to appear sensitive, to have a better image. However the way this act worked was typical of the ambiguity of cohabitation of the liberalism and non-interventionism and utilitarism. Because the majority was now liberal the education acts passed. It provided the opportunity for local authorities to create a new tax locally and to allocate the revenue from that tax to financing school dinners. That act gives the right, but not the obligation, to finance the school dinners for poor children. Mostly Conservatives locallities didn't want to take advantage of this new possibility. By 1914 150,000 children (bénéficièrent) from this act. The food they had from the school was probably the only real meal they had for the whole day. But because the lack of obligation, they was still a lot of children who suffered of malnutrition. It was a gesture to be seen doing something, without really solve the problem. The problem of malnutrition in schools remained a big problem. If you let things be applied or not in local levels, you don't have the assurance it will be done...

     The Education Act (administrative provisions/measures) 1907: this act provided for an annual medical inspections at school. The education minister: if we think that it's important for the nation to have a good education system, it's equally important that children actually benefit from their education, so they have to be fed. The Cons and some Liberals reacted to this very negatively. This was the role of charitable richs, to be seen as kind and charitable. It's a scandal that the state was going to tax them to have someone do their job.

     The Children's 1908 Act (also known as the Children's Charter): introduced a several measures designed for the protection of children. Juvenile courts were introduced for children (before that they were judged as adult criminals). Creation of borstal(s) (maisons de correction) instead of sending them to jails with adults. Shop keepers were officially forbidden to sell alcohol and tobacco to children. Set a limit to the number of hours a child can work out of school. The parents are legally responsible of their children, they can be judged for negligence.

     


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