Rational Choice and British Politics: An Analysis of by Iain McLean

By Iain McLean

This attractive and unique examine, by way of one of many major students of rational selection thought, explores the process British parliamentary politics over the past a hundred and fifty years. It combines social technological know-how and analytical narrative historical past with the nice turning issues in British politics: the Repeal of the Corn legislation; the Victorian difficulty of the Liberal and Conservative events; the Irish query and Lloyd George's option to it; the recent Liberal origins of the welfare country; the politics of race and empire less than Chamberlain and Powell; and the politics of "there isn't any substitute" below Margaret Thatcher.

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Rational Choice and British Politics: An Analysis of Rhetoric and Manipulation from Peel to Blair

This attractive and unique research, via one of many major students of rational selection concept, explores the process British parliamentary politics over the past one hundred fifty years. It combines social technology and analytical narrative heritage with the good turning issues in British politics: the Repeal of the Corn legislations; the Victorian concern of the Liberal and Conservative events; the Irish query and Lloyd George's method to it; the recent Liberal origins of the welfare kingdom; the politics of race and empire below Chamberlain and Powell; and the politics of "there isn't any substitute" less than Margaret Thatcher.

Additional info for Rational Choice and British Politics: An Analysis of Rhetoric and Manipulation from Peel to Blair

Sample text

The only ruthless non-Tory Prime Minister to have done so in our period was Lloyd George (see Chapter 6). Neither Gladstone nor any Labour Prime Minister until Tony Blair did; whereas both Salisbury and Thatcher, the two most determined Conservative Prime Ministers of our period, freely created peers from their own side. According to a table drawn up for Gladstone in 1892, he had created eighty-four new peers since 1868; Disraeli and Salisbury, who between them had been Prime Ministers for the same length of time as he had, had created 101.

But the evidence is not all one way. Peel's large majority was a hindrance, not a help, to his radical change. Lloyd George's heresthetic was built on a small proportion of Commons seats. Nevertheless, we must say something about the election landslides which did not lead to any change of direction. Disregarding 1832 (a landslide in every sense, but outside our time frame), there was only one nineteenth-century case, namely 1895. The 1895 election marked the clear rejection of the Liberal minority administration of 1892.

King George V did not actually do either of the things that would have brought him into constitutional confrontation with Lloyd George and his ministerial colleagues. In 1910 he agreed with great reluctance to create peers if required after another election confirmed the Liberals in control of the Commons (Jenkins 1968: 173–83; Bogdanor 1995: 117). And he did not either refuse Royal Assent to the Home Rule Act or dismiss the Liberal government in 1914. Had he done any of these things, a new and highly unpredictable game would have begun.

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