The Anglo-Saxon Social Model

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Rattigan, Dec 17, 2018.

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  1. Thomas1195 Well-Known Member

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    A Liberal/Labour government in 1936 may intervene in a potential Spanish Civil War to support the Republicans in one way or another.
     
  2. Thomas1195 Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't Lloyd George pretty much a Keynesian IOTL. And I expect him to jack up public spending to combat recession in any kind of Liberal-led government, even during the early 1920s.
     
  3. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    As with all of these kinds of things, I think it depends on what you really mean by "Keynesian." Keynesianism, as an economic theory proposing counter-cyclical government spending as a way of counteracting recession, wasn't fully fleshed out (either OTL or TTL) by 1919-21. IMO we don't really see this being adopted as government policy IOTL until the Hansson government come to power in Sweden in 1932. So I personally don't think we can blame Lloyd George for not adopting these kinds of measures in 1919-21 (either OTL or TTL). The UK TTL is definitely ahead of where it was OTL in terms of the development of social democracy but not that far ahead. IOTL, Lloyd George developed his thinking in a Keynesian direction (and IIRC helped Keynes write at least one book) over the course of the 1920s, before coming out with his version of a New Deal plan in January 1935. He's very much on the same journey TTL (and will still have a big part to play) but he's not there yet.

    What I would also say is that the depression in the UK was probably felt less badly than elsewhere because the British safety net was more generous (relatively speaking) than other countries at the time. Government spending would have increased owing to increased unemployment insurance payments having to be made. But these measures weren't so much designed to 'end' the recession as to redistribute the pain that was being felt anyway. Indeed, they probably precluded the deflationary measures that might have ended the recession sooner, albeit at a higher human cost.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
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  4. Threadmarks: Commonwealth Developments, 1924-1929

    Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    The White Man's Burden: Liberal-Labour Imperial Reforms
    White Highlands.jpg
    The White Highlands: white settlers' hunting lodges in south-western Kenya

    Following the cancelled election of 1921 and the outbreaks of violence following the Curzon-Donoughmore reforms, the incoming government was keen to reorganise their Indian possessions and despatched Walter Runciman (now Lord Runciman) to New Delhi with the mission to come up with the next stage of political reform on the subcontinent. Upon his arrival, Runciman immediately scrapped the Curzon-Donoughmore reforms and announced that fresh elections would be held in 1928 under a revised franchise. Although cross-party talks between the INC, the League and the Liberal Unionists broke down initially, the Runciman Report eventually appeared in December 1925 and its proposals were substantially adopted by Westminster (despite some reservations in cabinet) in the form of the Government of India Act 1926.

    More will be said on this report and on the passage of this legislation elsewhere but, from a Westminster point of view, it illustrated two important developments in imperial policy: firstly, it illustrated the influence of the Labour ministers, who generally held the view that, if the Empire was to be maintained, it should be with the consent of the colonies and with a trajectory towards equality as members of the Commonwealth; and secondly, it reasserted the Liberal desire to remain ahead of the curve when it came to Indian reform and not cede momentum to the nationalists.

    This impetus was carried on in Commonwealth policy, which was dominated by the Liberal Commonwealth Secretary Lord Devonshire and the Labour Colonial Secretary Sidney Webb. Together the two of them attempted to set out a clear roadmap for Britain’s African colonies to join the Commonwealth. The initial impetus for this came with the granting of responsible government and membership of the Commonwealth to Southern Rhodesia in 1925, the vast majority of the process of which had been completed by 1924 and to which both Webb and Cavendish were opposed because it instituted a white supremacist government and franchise.

    Webb and Cavendish sought to protect the interests of local Africans and, specifically in the case of Kenya, manage immigration in a way that would be fair to the Asian community. The resulting Devonshire-Webb White Paper appeared in 1926, which set out a framework for political reform in Britain’s remaining African colonies. Crucially, the paper rejected the possibility of creating further white settler dominions along the lines of Southern Rhodesia (frustrating the ambitions of many in Kenya and Northern Rhodesia) and called for the introduction of African parties and African representatives to colonial legislative assemblies. The White Paper was adopted in almost its entirety (in addition to clauses Kenya-specific clauses about Indian immigration) in the Government of Kenya Act 1927. This was followed up with the Colonial Governance Act 1928. While they frustrated the ambitions of figures like Lord Delamere, who sought to turn Kenya into another Rhodesia, the 1927 and 1928 acts did not actually restrict white settlement greatly (merely the settlers from unjustly dominating government) and gave encouragement to British capital to pour ever more into those countries.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
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  5. lukedalton Well-Known Member

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    Frankly i doubt that Uk will have that great success in term of foreign politcs, his soft power is extremely limited.
    Italy if forced to retreat from territory that considered part of the italian nation in favor of MegaSerbia will not be friendly towards the UK or any of his proposal and will sign the Locarno treaty only after having crushed Jugoslavia...better remember that ITTL they don't are the spent victor of OTL but instead the contrary but with a 'mutilated victory mith' up for ten
    The French will be extremely wary of the British, they will see them a little too cozy with the German and up on their usual game of 'balance of power', probably trying to form a more formal alliance with Italy but much depend on their stance during the Paris Peace Conference
     
  6. DaveB Well-Known Member

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    Did you mean Northern Rhodesia?
     
  7. EnvarKadri Well-Known Member

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    I still dont understand why the italians pulled out so early ofvthe war. Their gains are pitiful.
     
  8. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    Yes, whoops. I'll change that. I suppose it probably did frustrate the ambitions of some of the whites in Southern Rhodesia...
     
  9. Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    I'll cover Italy in a future update, where hopefully all will become clear. The one thing I'd say right now is that it's worth noting who actually signed the Locarno Pact and remember that its provisions only apply to them...
     
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  10. Threadmarks: The General Election of 1929

    Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    The Reds at the Gate: The Labour 'Victory' of 1929
    1929.JPG

    The 1929 election has since been called the first modern election because of the pioneering use of statistics and political science by the Labour Party. This, combined with the organisational infrastructure supplied by the trades unions, allowed Labour to target a slate of the 50 most marginal Liberal-Labour and Conservative-Labour seats with almost surgical precision. Although the fragile political geography of the country meant that there wasn’t much space for any party to vary its message too much, Labour managed to do better than most. When results came in, Labour had managed to peel off 34 seats from the Liberals and 6 seats from the Conservatives (who lost a further two to independents) to take position as the largest party in the Commons.

    However, once the cheers inside Labour central office died down, it began to dawn on observers just how clearly this election revealed the underlying dysfunctionality of British politics. The largest party in the Commons, despite arguably the most impressive campaign in its history, was still 86 seats short of forming the barest of majorities. Furthermore, the political history of the past few years and the makeup of the parties meant that there was no obvious way forward in terms of coalitions. The aggressive nature of Labour’s campaigning against the Liberals had poisoned what had been a cordial relationship in coalition: rumours of shouting matches between Chamberlain and MacDonald during the campaign were widespread in the press at the time and would be substantiated when the relevant papers were published following under the 30 years rule. There were also considerable cultural barriers in the way of a Labour-Conservative alliance.

    For a few days following the election, it appears that Baldwin and Chamberlain toyed with the idea of forming a grand coalition between the two parties. But, in the end, both stepped back from the brink before they went too far. This was partly because of their concern about the inevitable blowback if the two ‘traditional’ parties were seen to be putting aside their differences in order to shut out the socialist party. But it appears that both were also genuinely influenced by the idea that such a move would be undemocratic on its face, regardless of the psephological effect.

    Instead, the three party leaders and the three leaders in the House of Lords (Lords Sankey, Beauchamp and Salisbury of Labour, the Liberals and the Conservatives, respectively) met for crunch talks at the Travellers’ Club (perceived as a neutral venue). Eventually they agreed to abide by the so-called ‘Chamberlain Doctrine’, a reference to Chamberlain’s agreement with Hugh Cecil in 1921. This held that, in the event of none of the parties having a majority and being unable to form a coalition with other parties, the main opposition would help vote through the government’s first budget on the proviso that it did not contain anything “unreasonable.” Of course, “unreasonable” was left undefined and so the potential for further political rows remained there but, on the other hand, its formal adoption by the leaders was thought to provide some sort of stability to a political system that was creaking under the pressure of three evenly-matched parties. As a consequence, on 6 June 1929 Ramsay MacDonald entered 10 Downing Street as the first ever Labour Prime Minister, at the head of a minority Labour government.
     
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  11. Drunkrobot Well-Known Member

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    It's a ridiculously hodgepodge solution which will almost certainly break down at the most vulnerable moment. So I grant this timeline the 'No Sane Person Could Design This Monster' Badge for British Political Timelines, the highest award such a timeline can be given.
     
  12. Komnenos002 asdf

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    Is this award given to the most ASB of timelines, or the most realistic of timelines?
     
  13. Drunkrobot Well-Known Member

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    For British timelines, the absence of such a badge is ASB.
     
  14. Thomas1195 Well-Known Member

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    I doubt the Great Depression would be the same as OTL. But even a much milder GD would be enough to kick Labour out by 1933.
     
  15. Threadmarks: The Great Depression, 1930 onwards

    Rattigan Well-Known Member

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    The Deluge: The Paulet Scandal and the Onset of the Great Depression
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    The Face of Budgetary Stability: Philip Snowden on his way to deliver the emergency budget of September 1930


    Having taken power under the strictures of the Chamberlain Doctrine and conscious that a good deal of Labour’s appeal lay in its ability to attract swing voters outside of its electoral base, MacDonald’s government initially charted a moderate course. The government’s first budget, delivered by Snowden in August 1929, contained limited redistributive proposals but nothing particularly radical. A white paper was circulated outlining plans for increasing the scope of compulsory state medical insurance and the government also brought the Holidays with Pay Bill to the House, which would have mandated a minimum of twenty holiday days with pay for all workers. However, MacDonald would find that his government was soon to be blown completely off course by events.

    In March 1929, both the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England had issued linked but independent warnings about the dangers of excessive speculation, in response to a spate of shorting of American stocks which had threatened to spook British lenders. However, events would begin to move very rapidly with the announcement of the bankruptcy of the Paulet Group in London in September 1929. A London investment firm with aristocratic connections (the chairman was Henry Paulet, the 16th Marquess of Winchester), it began to get into trouble when a small (but not totally unexpected) contraction in the US construction market drew the curtain back on the firm’s troubled balance sheet. On 13 September, Lord Winchester had personally telephoned Snowden and Montague Norman (the chairman of the Bank of England), urging them to provide emergency loans to his firm. Both men, however, refused, perhaps underestimating the scale of the issues.

    When Paulet filed for bankruptcy in London the following day, the whole market was thrown into panic, with the rumours of criminality, which were leaking out of the preliminary investigations of administrators on both sides of the Atlantic, spreading like wildfire and undermining confidence in the credibility of the market as a whole. Sharp drops in both the NYSE and the LSE were reported in both October and November 1929, which in turn spread rapidly to highly-leveraged industries around the world. In January 1930, after meetings between private and central bankers in both London and New York, a syndicate of banks headed by Lloyds in London and National City in New York announced that they would together pump a further $30,000,000 into the stock market, principally into former Paulet holdings. This helped to stop the slide for a while, until April 1930. In a preliminary hearing in a New York court examining the demise of Paulet’s New York office, Judge Joseph Force Crater commented that he was concerned about what he thought appeared to be widespread fraud and criminality on the firm’s books.

    Although Judge Crater’s words were taken out of context (he noted elsewhere in his remarks that, overall, he thought that the case looked like a normal example of a firm being overextended and insufficiently diversified), they were regarded as the straw that broke the camel’s back. The following day, rumours of fraud caused a rash of stock shorting with caused the biggest single-day crash in the history of the NYSE. This was followed up with a similar collapse in London the following day. In response, businesses began failing all across the US, Germany and the Commonwealth as investors withdrew their money as fast as they could. In response, London banks drew in their lending capacities at the same speed, which had an inevitable knock-on effect on British businesses, who had to survive in a world where they suddenly had no access to credit.

    The government found itself completely incapable of responding to these new financial realities. The whole of the City basically froze up, sucking credit out of the British economy, leaving no money for investment and subsequently hoovering up all demand. The effects on agriculture and industry were immediate and devastating, with widespread layoffs and business bankruptcies. Increases in evictions also contributed to a rise in old age poverty, which in turn put unprecedented strain on the remains of the devolved-administered Poor Laws, which almost collapsed. By the summer of 1930, the government budget deficit had ballooned as a result of the massive increase in unemployment insurance payments, which in turn resulted in speculative attacks putting pressure on the pound.

    In this context, the government was faced with two possibilities. The first was to continue with the increase in welfare spending and hope that the depression could be ridden out like the 1919-21 had. The problem with this course was that it would probably necessitate a devaluation of sterling, something that Snowden was unwilling to countenance (he told cabinet that “I will not have the legacy of socialism in this country being the destruction of gold”). Instead, Snowden sought to deflate the economy, all the while shoring up sterling’s position by extracting gold reserves from India and the other colonies.

    When Snowden unveiled a series of proposals that would have accomplished this in August 1930, events moved very quickly. Many members of the cabinet were furious at the proposal to enact tax rises and swingeing cuts to welfare payments in an attempt to reach a balanced budget that would, hopefully, calm the markets. A coterie of ministers formed around Arthur Henderson, George Lansbury and Stafford Cripps in their strong opposition to the measures. They sought to put pressure on MacDonald by leaking the proposals to Ernest Bevin, the chairman of the Trades Union Congress (“TUC”). Bevin was outraged by the idea of forcing wage restraint on workers who had not, after all, been the cause of the crisis. Instead, he championed a corporatist approach whereby an agreement would be formed by negotiations between unions, industry, banks and politicians.

    At a ‘beer and sandwiches’ summit in September 1930, Bevin and other union chairmen visited Downing Street to discuss their demands. However, it soon became clear that Snowden was unwilling to alter the government’s approach and had simply called it as a cover to better persuade the TUC to make a public statement in support of the plan. When Bevin announced that the talks had been unsuccessful, the majority of Labour MPs rose up in open rebellion and took the extraordinary step of unilaterally electing Arthur Henderson as the ‘Chairman of the Parliamentary Party,’ effectively organising themselves as a shadow party outside of MacDonald’s control. Amidst the background of bankers and union leaders giving evidence to select committees, arguing for deflationary or expansionary fiscal measures, respectively, an apparent complete loss of government control increased market uncertainty and deepened the crisis.

    Despite the resignations of much of his cabinet, MacDonald managed to patch together a cabinet of Labour MPs and resolved to put his monetary measures to Parliament as an emergency budget in September. In sensational scenes in Parliament, Snowden and MacDonald saw their budget voted down by 202 votes to 513, the largest defeat of a Prime Minister in the democratic era. Most devastating of all was the fact that 236 Labour MPs rebelled against the whip to vote down the emergency budget, with the majority of the 202 votes coming from the Conservative benches. At this point, it became clear that MacDonald’s majority was in tatters and Labour surely could not continue in government. But, the question remained, who could?
     
  16. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    When I heard economic crisis, I hoped having a Labour government would mean someone would get a hint and stabilize the economy by creating activity, not contracting it further. Instead, the leadership decides to govern like centrists, and for once, MPs show a bit of a spine? Interesting.
     
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  17. Drunkrobot Well-Known Member

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    The Labour rebels might take this as their chance to pull the country leftward, presenting themselves as the deliverers of a new consensus to replace the one built by the liberals and conservatives which has clearly just run its course. Might they promise a UBI, if my impression that the national attitude leans more solidly towards 'bottom-up' thinking is correct? "Don't have the government buy the industries, enrich the workers so they can buy them themselves!"
     
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  18. Politibrit Well-Known Member

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    I mean, this isnt hugely different from what happened with Labour following the Great Depression IOTL.
     
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  19. ShortsBelfast Events, dear boy, events

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    Might I suggest that whatever analogue of the OTL National Government comes into being is successful in appointing Reginald McKenna as Chancellor
     
  20. Nyvis Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, but this labour seem like it would be more leftwing, with he liberals being center left?
     
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