Thursday, 11 May 2017

Vote for Us

Three  political posters from the early 20th century.  

Now that the month and a bit of the Party Conferences have ended I thought I would reflect on what each was saying at a moment in the past.

During the last two days I have been looking at posters from the Liberals in 1906 and the Conservatives in 1929.  Today here is one from the Labour Party in 1931.

All can be seen in at the People’s History Museum in Picturing Politics: Exploring the Political Poster in Britain on until June 17 2012.*

The 1931 General Election was fought against the backdrop of a huge economic crisis. Two years earlier the Wall Street Crash in the U.S. had shattered economic confidence leading to a depression. Factories closed and by the end of 1930 the unemployment rate in Britain had doubled to two and a half million.

The Labour Government struggled to cope with attempting to maintain a balanced budget while providing assistance to the poor and unemployed.

In an effort to reconcile the contradiction they appointed a committee to review public spending which recommended public sector wage cuts and large reductions in public spending, including payments to the unemployed.

The majority of the Labour Party disagreed and in the subsequent deadlock there was a flight of finance out of the country.  Ramsay MacDonald the Labour Prime Minister offered to form a National Government with the Conservatives and Liberals.

Just a few Labour MPs joined him and a little later he called a General Election fought on the issue of the need to introduce public spending cuts in the interests of the country.

Picture; Sacrifice, 1931

* Picturing Politics: Exploring the Political Poster in Britain was on display at the People's History Museum, Manchester, June 2012,.

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