By H. V. Emy

During this examine of the alterations within the social and political considered the Edwardian Liberal occasion, Dr Emy charts the method of inner conversion wherein the celebration got here to favour a sophisticated social coverage. He hyperlinks those adjustments with vital advancements within the inner composition of the celebration, specifically the emergence of a brand new workforce of social radicals, and claims that those elements have been answerable for the Liberals' dedication to complex measures of social reform. the writer additionally keeps that the access of the social radicals into Parliament marks the origins of an important debate in smooth British politics - the commercial challenge. He argues that the valuable factor of the matter - the measure to which social and ethical priorities are either entitled to and may be able to displace the primacy of deterministic financial assumptions approximately how society needs to paintings - was once the serious factor of post-1906 politics, and in addition got here to shape the touchstone of contemporary occasion allegiances.

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31, 34. 57 A. Thorold, Life of Henry Labouchere (1913) pp. 417-18. 58 C. Bradlaugh, Socialism : Fallacies and Dangers (1887). 59 J. Morley, Liberalism and Social Reforms (1889). 61 By the 1880s the labour legacy was being catalysed by at least three factors whose significance sprang as much from their own self-evident appearance of permanence as from the varied appreciations of contemporary observers. The first factor was the re-emergence and further clarification of the intellectual critique of the existing order whose origins dated formerly from Owenism and Chartism and latterly from the critics of Victorian materialism, Arnold, Ruskin and Morris.

97 The same complaints were made with similar force ten years later, relating now to the breaking down of the old crafts, the tendency for boys at machines to replace skilled men and the continual passage of semi-skilled youths or young men into the casual labour market. A goldsmith condemned the ' intolerable' team-system and the decline in quality. A book-binder spoke of ' commercialism ', a wood-engraver disliked the onset of steam-printing. 98 Evidence before the 1894 Royal Commission on Labour revealed a uniform demand for greater stability in earnings, although there was little support for a ' General Act' to regulate wages - it was admitted that a fixed minimum would tend to increase unemployment, but there was a great deal of 95 96 97 98 Cf.

G. S. Buxton in the Daily Chronicle, 2 July 1892, who made a firm distinction between the two. 4 JBP, Add. Mss 46305 £. 95. 2 38 POLICY 39 suggested an inadequate appreciation of the nature of political activity. Possibly, Labour programmes and candidates caused most distaste amongst grass-roots Liberalism, but there was a general fear of being stampeded by essentially ephemeral agitations into adopting measures harmful to the community's own long-term prosperity. It was impossible to divorce Labour politics from the intellectual haziness of socialist schemes whose authors ' seem like men telling their dreams of the night, forgotten almost as soon as told \ There was a fear of the intangible.

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