Why would Labour not form a majority government on their own? They don't need the Liberals to govern.Safety First: WI the Tories had been the largest party in 1929?
Going into the 1929 election, Labour and the Liberals were in much better spirits than the Tories. Stanley Baldwin's cabinet had been described as 'old and exhausted', the Tories' slogan of 'Safety First' was seen as less ambitious than Labour and the Liberals' plans to 'conquer unemployment' as the British economy declined, and it seemed certain Baldwin would not win another term in Number 10.
But in politics, nothing is as it seems sometimes, and the 1929 election was one of the most shocking in decades.
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While Labour and the Liberals did deprive Baldwin of an overall majority, the result was far less dominant than they had hoped. Despite Lloyd George's strenuous campaigning and the huge increase in the Liberal vote from 1924, the party only gained eight MPs compared to its 1924 rout, and while Labour made a much more impressive gain of 111 seats, rising above 200 seats for the first time in the party's history in the process, they had fallen far short of expectations. While Baldwin was tempted to drag his feet and hope to come back stronger at the next election like he had in 1924, this time he decided to continue as Prime Minister and lead a minority government since he was much closer to still having a majority compared to then. He declared during the first speech of the Third Baldwin Ministry that 'I pledged to the British people that we would deliver 'Safety First', and safety from the chaos of socialism is exactly what this Conservative government will provide!'
This triumphalism, however, was misplaced, not least because his decision to continue in government has been looked back on as the biggest mistake of any of his premierships and because it would put the Tories out of government for the longest period since before the Tamworth Manifesto.
It wasn't long after Baldwin's government was re-elected that he ran into trouble. When, in October, the New York Stock Exchange experienced a colossal crash, the economy continued to worsen, and the refusal of Chancellor Winston Churchill to resign led to accusations of complacency and inflexibility on the government's part. Despite pressure from numerous different political sources, particularly the owner of the Express and Evening Standard Lord Beaverbrook and the Daily Mail's proprietor Lord Rothermere, who advocated for free trade and closer economic ties with the British Empire and for a policy agenda akin to Mussolini's Republican Fascist Party respectively, Baldwin refused to change track from the laissez-faire approach his government had fostered since it first came into office, despite his plurality being eroded during 1929 and 1930 with by-election defeats in Twickenham, Bromley and South Paddington, the latter by a candidate endorsed by the Empire Crusade Party supported by Beaverbrook.
However, the moment generally agreed to be the killing blow to Baldwin's government was the Tories' defeat in the Westminster St George's by-election in March 1931, a seat the party had won by a 60% margin at the last election, at the hands of another Empire Crusade-associated candidate. The Express, Standard and Mail all ran headlines the following day declaring Baldwin should resign as Prime Minister, but he did so in a manner that shocked the nation- he went to the King and called for a dissolution of Parliament, setting the next election for the 30th April 1931. Despite many guessing the King was uncomfortable with such a decision, the dissolution was allowed.
At first, this seemed like a stroke of genius- despite dissatisfaction with the Tories, most voters were not particularly keen on bolting to Labour, the Liberals or the Empire Crusade Party (especially since the latter was more of a pressure group than a cohesive party, endorsing candidates here and there). But on the 9th April, Liberal leader David Lloyd George and Labour leader Ramsay MacDonald held a press conference declaring that, if they won enough seats to outnumber the Tories once again, their two parties would form a 'National Government'. This coalition would seek to implement public works programmes to ease the impact of the Depression, though Lloyd George would serve as PM rather than MacDonald (due to the resistance to Labour from many middle-class voters, even in such dire economic hardship) and significant checks and balances would be implemented to ensure spending on such programmes was kept in check.
This Keynesian approach was not met with universal appreciation within the party; opposition went as far up as Labour's Shadow Chancellor Philip Snowden, who resigned from the party in protest; but voters wanted a change, and it sounded more of a coherent solution than free trade within the Empire or Baldwin's solution of doing nothing.
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Even with how unpopular the government had become, the sheer scale of the Tories' defeat was unexpected by many. The Conservatives tumbled to their smallest tally in history, returning just 124 MPs, and won less than 30% of the vote for the first time since 1832. By contrast, the National Government parties won 481 seats and over 70% of the vote between them, by far the biggest victory of any government since universal suffrage. Lloyd George became PM for the second time, and while many voters were skeptical that he could deliver the dramatic reforms he promised, most Labour and Liberal supporters wanted to stay optimistic.
(Sorry if this sounds pretty ludicrous, it's just a scenario I thought would be interesting, and hopefully where it goes will be too.)
Blessed/ Cursed/ BlursedAfter 22 years in office, facing a slowing economy at home and cooling relations with Ukraine and Belarus, President of Russia Gennady Zyuganov announced he would not contest the 2018 presidential election. After 22 years of failing to unseat Zyuganov, the several center and conservative political parties united under the United Russia banner and nominated Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin. Sobyanin, although socially conservative, was a reformist and ran the city relatively effectively. He instantly led the polls against a generic Communist candidate.
The Communists nominated Ulyanovsk Oblast governor Maxim Suraykin. Suraykin was a young and dynamic figure on his party's left flank. He had never outright criticized Zyuganov, but he had made his displeasure known. Although party leaders weren't entirely satisfied with Suraykin, they understood that to have a shot against Sobyanin, they needed a reformer of their own. However, it wasn't that simple. Sergei Udaltsov, an infamous (anti-Soviet) leftist, announced his own independent bid, splitting the leftist vote. He advocated for an easing of restrictions on civil rights in Russia and called for more cooperation with nations outside of the Eurasian Union. However, facing Suraykin, these criticisms fell flat.
Ultimately, due to a lack of institutional support, Udaltsov lost the runoff badly, leaving the race to Sobyanin and Suraykin. Sobyanin had much of the first round campaigning to himself and led the polls in the month before the vote by 10 points or more. Desperately, Suraykin barnstormed much of the country's "red belt", hoping to juice as much votes from peasants, farmers, industrial laborers, and ethnic minorities as he possibly could. Sobyanin stuck to Moscow's environs, his base, and, thanks to help from international donors in the U.S. and support from Russian oligarchs, greatly outspent Suraykin.
Shockingly, Sobyanin's base in Moscow didn't turn out for him in as huge numbers as he would have wished. Suraykin, however, was able to greatly increase upon Zyuganov's share of the western vote, nearly winning the middle class vote as well as the Communists' usual base. With Suraykin's shock win, the leftist coalition swept into control of the Duma as well, shutting out the United Russia coalition. Even after nearly uninterrupted 100 years of sometimes rocky leadership, Russia still seemed to trust the reds.
The election was declared by international observers as free and fair.
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Basically for the same reason the Tories still kept the Liberal Nationals, Samuelite Liberals and National Labour on hand and didn't just depose MacDonald in OTL 1931- before the election they agreed to form a National Government with a PM who wasn't from the biggest party, so that's what they do. Plus, Lloyd George was kind of a more acceptable face for a progressive government among many middle-class voters than MacDonald anyway.Why would Labour not form a majority government on their own? They don't need the Liberals to govern.