The beginning of the 20th century wasn't a significant time in itself for change in British politics, except perhaps for the founding of the Labour Party, but a gradual shift in the political landscape had been taking place. This was a time when the status of the United Kingdom as a great imperial power and as a strong industrial economy was ceasing to exist. The end of the 20th century gave quite a different picture. It showed a country struggling with the issue of integration into Europe (a concept barely imagined 100 years previously), a more service- less industry-orientated economy, and a political system less focused on Westminster and more focused on the regions than ever before. The challenge facing those involved in compiling The Companion to 20th-Century British Politics was to incorporate the wide breadth of subject matter covering the events, themes, ideas, people, institutions, and places that have been important in shaping the path of political history of Britain over the past 100 years. The result is the most comprehensive and authoritative source of reference on 20th-century British politics ever written.
Exploring a diverse range of topics over 100 specialist contributors, under the guidance of a team of distinguished advisory editors, have written more than 3,000 opinionated and informative entries. All the major political organisations that have functioned during the 20th century are mentioned. There are biographical entries including longer entries on all prime ministers and holders of key cabinet posts and shorter entries on many junior ministers, influential backbenchers, and party organisers. The book also covers key areas of economic, social, legal, foreign, and defence policies with special attention devoted to the politics of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Historical events and their impact on the shape of political thinking are described in detail. Political concepts and ideas have entries devoted to them, as do social and economic issues. Topics of international debate such as those concerned with Europe, NATO, and Anglo-American relations are discussed at length. The whole period is covered, from the foundation of the Labour Party to mad cow disease and even the result of the 2001 general election.
BIOGRAPHIES PMs and leaders of the major and lesser parties: Harold Wilson, Tony Blair, David Steel, Oswald Mosley, William Hague, Margaret Thatcher politicians: Ernest Bevin, Violet Bonham Carter, Martin Bell royalty: Diana, Princess of Wales, George V, George VI private secretaries to royalty: Robert Fellowes, Francis Knollys diplomats: Lord Caradon, Oliver Harvey judges: Cyril Radcliffe, Lord Trevethin spies: John Cairncross, Oleg Gordievsky modern influential figures: Mo Mowlam, Ken Livingstone, Gerry Adams civil servants: William Beveridge, Burke Trend key thinkers and writers: Friedrich von Hayek, J. M. Keynes, A. J. P.
Taylor, Harold Laski, Max Weber figures in the media: Robin Day, Robert Maxwell industrialists: Charles Clore, Alfred Mond, Evan Williams trade unionists: Frank Cousins, Arthur Scargill, George Woodcock EVENTS major conflicts and wars: Falklands war, Gulf war, Second World War crises: oil crisis, Beef war economic events: Black Wednesday, convertibility crisis political events: Black Monday, referendum pledge, Tonypandy, Westland affair, Zinoviev letter Ireland: Drumcree, Easter Rising, Peace Process mark I, Peace Process mark II Europe: Bruges speech, Lome convention International events: Blitz, Norway debate, Wall Street crash ISSUES social issues: crime, drugs, north-south divide, abortion, race, literacy, gambling, football hooliganism, divorce constitutional issues: centralisation in local government, corruption political issues: local government finance, alternative vote, censorship, poll tax economic issues: balance of payments, inflation, free trade, rent control, stagflation, unemployment, medium-term financial strategy education: grammar schools, school milk, eleven-plus selection health: AIDS, family planning, care in the community THEORIES AND IDEAS anarchism, capitalism, fascism, feminism, game theory, oligarchy, pluralism, Marxism PUBLICATIONS books: Full Employment in a Free Society, One Nation, The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists reports: Bryce report, Finer report, Norwood report media: Marxism Today, The Economist, Daily Mail, Irish Worker, Private Eye white papers: In Place of Strife, Sandys white paper policy documents: Fair Deal at Work, Looking Ahead, We Can Conquer Unemployment film and television: Braveheart, Spitting Image, That Was the Week That Was ORGANISATIONS parties: Conservative Party, Green Party, National Party, Cumann na nGaedheal, Referendum Party central government: Bank of England, cabinet committees, Inland Revenue clubs and societies: Fabian Society, Monday club charities: Age Concern, National Trust, Shelter pressure groups: Anti-Waste League, Keep Sunday Special Campaign media: BBC, HTV, S4C Europe: European Union, European parliament, Western European Union LEGISLATION AND RULES Acts of Parliament: Prevention of Terrorism Act, Single European Act, Clean Air Act, Education Acts, Race Relations Acts, Trade Union Acts SLOGANS AND SAYINGS 'back to basics', 'Hitler has missed the bus', 'never had it so good' , 'No, no, no!'
In addition to A-Z entries the Companion offers extra material including a list of office holders from 1900 to the present day, a classified contents list grouping headwords by topic, a table of election results including the result of the 2001 election, and a table showing dates of ministries.
Table of Contents
PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS; EDITORS; CONTRIBUTORS; CLASSIFIED CONTENTS LIST; ABBREVIATIONS; NOTE TO THE READER; A-Z ENTRIES; APPENDIX 1: DATES OF MINISTRIES; APPENDIX 2: OFFICE HOLDERS; APPENDIX 3: RESULTS OF GENERAL ELECTIONS
John Ramsden is Professor of History at Queen Mary College, University of London. His other books include Ruling Britannia and An Appetite for Power-The History of the Conservative Party.