It seems apt that on this day, St George's, that I should be writing about the current political situation and the forthcoming election. So much so that I've looked back at elections since 1918 and even political situations further back in the past.
Civil War 1642
Periodically, the ordinary people of countries around the world desire change. They desire change from their ruling classes because of a perceived attitude of disdain for the rulers over the subjects. The groundswell of feeling can develop into a plethora of actions which comes from the nature of the people feeling dissatisfied.
There are many misconceptions about the Civil War, particularly that it was a war fought by gentlemen. In fact there seems to be some truth in the statement at the beginning but as the war ground on things changed. The nobles who were against the king and his establishment were made up of many nouveau riche, families that had not been to the royal court who battled against the nobles of the Royal establishment. Of course the ordinary soldiers came from the populace and were only fighting because of significant financial incentives. As the war progressed it became necessary to find talent from wherever it popped up and by the end of the war only 8% of the commanding ranks on both sides were from the nobility.
Whigs and Tories
I suppose that a long term spin off of the conflicts of the 17th century led to the eventual formation of two political sides - the Whigs (Liberals) and Tories (Conservatives). At the beginning of the 20th century there was a mini, non-violent ideological revolution which spawned the Labour Party. In the 1923 election a minority Labour government were catapulted to office supported by the Liberals. That government only lasted 10 months and in 1924 the Conservatives were elected with a landslide majority.
Flapper Election 1929
In 1929 Stanley Baldwin was expected to return to power untroubled as the taste for socialism was waning, however, he hadn't counted on the 'Flapper Election' which was the first in which all women over the age of 21 could vote. Another hung parliament with Labour forming a minority government.
I was 14 years old when Harold Wilson swept to power in 1964. The Tories had been in power for the previous thirteen years and the campaign was littered with references to '13 years of Tory misrule'. Wilson won the election by 5 seats and probably because the Tory party seemed painfully old-fashioned whereas the Labour party promised a blend of social reform and economic modernisation. A majority of five was a difficult situation to manage and the government lasted until 1966 when this time Wilson won by a landslide majority.
The late 60s and seventies were times of political turmoil brought about in part by the trade unions systematically holding the country to ransom. Out of the ashes of the Labour government arose this,
Margaret Thatcher 4th May 1979
Most people alive today will remember Margaret Thatcher for all kinds of reasons. She had that uncanny knack of opinionated people of polarising opinion over almost every matter that arose but she couldn't last forever, was replaced by John Major and eventually Labour took power in 1997 under Tony Blair.
So we're two weeks away from another election and one in which another hung parliament is forecast and, if that turns out to be the case I believe it is an indication of a change in this in out sort of political nonsense we've put up with for a hundred years or more, to something more representative of how people feel about their world.
I believe that the two party, first passed the post politics is not representing the feelings of ordinary people who are standing up for more specific aspects of life which is leading to the development of smaller parties into more significant groups.
It is interesting that the trigger for this mini revolution was the Scottish referendum on separation from the UK. In fact it could lead to the Scottish National Party holding the balance of power over the whole of the UK.