Disraeli: Arguments regarding social reform

Disraeli: Arguments regarding social reform

Disraeli built on the Gladstonian legacy: many of the reforms finished-off what Gladstone had already commenced. The Public Health Act (1875) was a good example of this. As it responded to a Royal Commission Report first set up by Gladstone. (Read more after Break)

Largely permissive: a lot of legislation encouraged, rather than forced changes.

Popular legislation: keeping publicans happy as well as the brewers. Trade Union legislation tried to appeal to working-class support.

Disraeli wanted to present his ideas as part of his wider plan for Tory Democracy and one nation Toryism. In comparison to Gladstone’s legislation Disraeli has a more practical and pragmatic effect (which was viewed as a breath of fresh air); less intrusive and less demanding. More about finding practical ways of improving the lives of people.

Both Gladstone and Disraeli attempted to reach out to the urban classes, and to the new voters after the 1867 Reform Act, but neither believed in universal suffrage. As in this form of popular politics: the old order needs to be seen to respond to the needs of all classes and not just the social elite.

Effects of 1867 Reform Act
·    Rebirth of political life in towns and country: after 1867 all constituency elections are challenged. Liberals and Conservatives stand against each other even in safe seats.
·    Parties start to form manifestos (first brought about by Robert Peel); local constituency organisations became active in recruitment. Tighter structure to party politics. Disraeli and Gladstone were the first popular-personality politicians.
·    MPs feel a huge amount of pressure to be seen to do ‘good’, thus resulting in many new laws. 
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