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Election Day 1910

In fact in 1910 there were two general elections in the UK – which was rather good because in those days general elections took place over a two week period.

The first election was in January and the results were

  • Unionists (in effect the Conservative Party) 272
  • Liberal 274
  • Labour 40
  • Irish 71
  • All for Ireland 8
  • Nationalists 3
  • Independents 2

Norris was a Unionist. Jacko Jones I imagine as a Liberal.

The second election was in December and the results were

  • Unionists 274
  • Liberal 272
  • Labour 42
  • Irish 74
  • All for Ireland 8
  • Independents 3

Both were “hung” parliaments, and the Liberals ruled in both cases.

The right to vote was restricted to men who either had a certain income or paid a certain rent.  In “Making the Arsenal” I have given Jacko the vote, although I have not been able to verify whether he would have it or not.  I think he would, that’s as far as I can go.

If you have read the book you will know that the Suffragettes play quite a part in the story. Women were given the vote in 1919.

In Parliament coalitions were hard to put togethher.  Liberal were proposing to tax the landed gentry which made the possibility of them working with the Unionists, zero.  Labour would talk to the Liberals in return for concessions.  The Irish would not debate or join in any issue that did not relate to independence for Ireland.

Despite all this, halfway between the elections, the Liberal government pushed through its plans for the Parliament Act which severely reduced the power of the House of Lords, and which started the long journey to the type of democracy that exists in Britain today.

I write this on Election Day 2010, having voted (as I have done in every single election, from Parish Council to EU, since I was given the vote at the age of 21), but without the slightest notion of what will happen.  The predictions are for a hung parliament like 1910, but with the parties starting to do deals.  It will be interesting to see.

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1 comment to Election Day 1910

  • Ralph

    Ironically it was these two elections (which were forced elections due to the ‘People’s Budget’ being blocked by The Lords and resulting in an act to end their power to block legislation) that led to the Third Home Rule Bill (and hence the Curragh Incident) and the split between the Asquith and Lloyd George wings of the party that indirectly ended Liberal power and catapulted the Labour Party to a major force in politics.

    I mention this because there are great similarities between the kind of tactical voting both supported and decried by parties today and the ‘coupon’ election of 1918.

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