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Did Ramsay Macdonald Betray the Labour Party?

  • Date Submitted: 12/16/2010 04:52 AM
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Did Ramsay MacDonald betray the Labour Party?
There are different views on Ramsay MacDonald forming the national government. Some people believe he was wrong to do so and betrayed the Labour Party. Whilst others believe it was for the good of the country and therefore was the right thing to do. In this essay I will explore both of these viewpoints.
Ramsay MacDonald was one of the founders of the Labour Party. Without him, there may have never been a Labour Party. He devoted a lot of time and effort in creating the party. He helped lead them into government in 1924, where he lead them and became British Prime Minister. Not only this, but during his time as Prime Minister, he had far more successes than failures, and was able to prove that Labour were fit to govern.
In 1929, Labour once again came into power with Ramsay MacDonald leading them, to form the second Labour government. However, in 1931, as a result of increasing unemployment figures and low government funds. MacDonald had to take action. He did so by reducing unemployment benefits. He cast a vote to make sure his party supported him. The vote was split 11-9, so he went through with it. Because the unemployment rate went down as a result of him helping more people into employment a lot of people were very supportive of him although on the other hand this also caused the unemployment benefits to go down meaning the people who weren’t employed still were getting even less money than before.
The economic crash of 1931 forced MacDonald to resign but the King once again asked him to form a National Government. He had already turned him down before. However, now MacDonald really had no other options. He could either resign or try to solve the financial crisis. So in order to solve the financial crisis, Ramsay MacDonald reluctantly accepted this offer and formed the National Government with Conservative and Liberal support. Considered to be a traitor, he was expelled from the Labour Party.
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