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Why did Labour win the 1945 election?

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    Labour’s victory in 1945 came as a shock to the political world, Winston Churchill almost suddenly lost is popularity. Labour also took full advantage of the BBC which had a left-wing approach in many of its news reports and talks. Also, by proposing a welfare state, Labour was able to more votes from within the working class and the economic crisis also played into their hands.

    Prior to the elections, Winston Churchill’s approval ratings in the opinion polls stood at 83%, Churchill was considered as a hero for is involvement in winning the War and this is what the Conservatives based their campaign on, however he was seen as a war time leader and was not considered to be a man to lead Britain in a time when peace and party politics were now more important.The Source by Sir Joseph Balls suggests that the BBC was possibly under Labour control. He goes on to explain that the BBC granted attention to left-wing writers and politicians and therefore many of their news reports and talks were left-wing. At the time the BBC was the only TV Channel and therefore everyone watched it, and although this source represents one point of view it can be argued that Labour made the best use of the left-wing support from the BBC to target everyone who watched TV.

    With the Conservatives unable to get their right-wing views onto the television, it possibly proved easier for Labour to gain the attention of the people and their vote as they had no competition on the television.Labour’s policy of social reform proved highly popular, the Beveridge report was published in 1942, proposed the creation of the Welfare State. The report suggested nationalised health care and a new housing policy amongst other things and the public response was very positive. However the Conservatives dismissed many of the report’s suggestions and they were not willing to make the same proposals as Labour and this meant they were not giving the public what they wanted.

    The Source by Robert Pearce explains that with the proposal of the Welfare State, Labour were almost guaranteed a victory in the election, they just had to avoid losing it. It is possible this policy could have won Labour the election on its own as the Conservatives failed to match it, which meant the public ended up favouring Labour.After the war, Britain’s economy was virtually bankrupt. The US surprisingly stopped the Lend-Lease programme, which the UK was heavily relying on for economic support.

    Rationing was introduced and this proved highly unpopular throughout the public and the unemployment was continuously rising as Britain was losing out in the manufacturing industry to Asian countries. The economic crisis really hit the Conservatives, the public felt that the Conservative politicians had mismanaged the economy and they could not be trusted with such an important issue again.All of the issues outlined had a part to play in why Labour won the election in 1945, however the Beveridge Report and the proposal of the Welfare State possibly played the most major role in winning Labour the election. The public instantaneously liked the report and it gained Labour huge popularity, what made matters worse was the failure of the Conservatives to match or better the proposals, instead they dismissed them causing them to fall out with the majority of the public.

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