1906 election

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  • 1906 election
    • The Conservative Government was heavily criticised over its conduct of the Boer War because of it costing many lives and a lot of money
    • In 1903, the Conservative minister, Joseph Chamberlain, resigned his Cabinet post to campaign for a reintroduction of tariffs, arguing that this would strengthen the Empire, protect British jobs and fund social reform. This move split the Conservative Party.
    • The 1902 Education Act changed funding for schools. Nonconformists were furious that their rates would contribute to CoE and RC schools
    • Voters feared protectionism would lead to higher food prices
    • Conservative government was blamed because about half of all British recruits were medically rejected, suggesting poor health
    • The Liberals united against protectionism,campaigning to keep free trade. Free trade was immensely popular as it was associated with cheap food and low taxes
    • The deaths of 28,000 Boer women and children in concentration camps caused moral outrage in Britain
    • The issue of ‘Chinese Slavery’ damaged the Conservatives.Chinese workers were imported to South Africa as cheap labour, which NC say is unethical exploitation. Trade Unions also voiced fears that employers might import Chinese workers to Britain to keep wages low.
    • The Liberals had a new leader, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, who united the party.
    • 1904 Licensing Act aimed to reduce the amount of pubs but angered many temperate NC as it proposed paying generous compensation to brewers for the loss of their license
    • The 1902 Taff Vale Judgement allowed companies to sue trade unions for losses caused by strikes, thereby removing the effectiveness of striking
    • There was a growing awareness that the state needed to do more to improve living standards for the most vulnerable. However, the conservatives seemed unprepared to introduce substantial social reform
    • A number of unpopular Conservatives policies swung the support of NC voters back to the Liberal party
    • The conservatives alienated WC voters


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