How a unique combination of Heath and Powell saw the Tories swept to power from Sheffield to Lambeth.
Posts by Lewis Baston
Lewis Baston is author of Reggie: The Life of Reginald Maudling and several books about British general elections. He is a consultant on politics, elections and constituencies,Follow @
Looking back, 55 years of Liberal and Liberal Democrat by-election success looks less important than UKIP’s two-year surge.
The Tories often appear to have been more worried about enfranchising working-class men than ladies of property.
Clearing up the last few pieces of formal political inequality has taken a century, but every step was taken under a Conservative or Coalition government.
It seems strange to think of Thatcher’s last triumph as the twilight of a Tory century, but that is how it now appears to electoral history.
In the best of all worlds, standards would be upheld voluntarily. But in the world we have, we seem to need rules – and sometimes to extend them.
Lewis Baston: Forty years ago, another Tory conference. It saw that famous Hague speech. And the arrival of Reg Prentice…
The former Labour MP’s defection, and the later split within that party, has not yet found in a parallel in our own turbulent times.
Lewis Baston: Disraeli’s “leap in the dark” towards modern democracy. 150 years on from the 1867 Reform Act.
Two cheers for a measure that, though mostly about managing, dividing and taming popular opinion, remains a reforming landmark.
And those that never were, such as 1978, 1991 and 2007. Prime Ministers tend to make the opposite error to that of their predecessors.
The shock over the overall result has distracted us from how remarkable some of each party’s gains really were.
Lewis Baston: The awe-inspiring, smashing, astonishing, record-breaking Conservative and National landslide of 1931
The governments of the 1930s illustrate how little a huge majority is worth if it isn’t married to a strong and imaginative policy programme.
John Major secured more votes than any other Prime Minister in unpromising circumstances – but ‘stretching the elastic of democracy’ would cost the Party dearly.
Even more than party disagreements over what should replace it, the idea of a very powerful second chamber is out of constitutional fashion.
Reading back, it highlights how supposedly level-headed ‘realists’ were so slow to recognise the true nature of the National Socialist regime.
Does the Anglican character of Toryism explain why it’s avoided producing the long and fascinating list of breakaways sported by Labour and the Liberals?