Why was there a Liberal landslide/Conservative defeat
1 Political Factors
1.1 1902 Education Act provided for all schools to be funded
from local rates whereas before Anglican and Catholic
schools were funded by their Churches. Nonconformists
outraged that their taxes would be spent on schools that
they strongly opposed. Some refused to pay taxes whilst
Lloyd George campaigned against it in Wales.
1.2 Taff Vale Railway Company took trade union to court to
receive compensation for loss of profits during workers
strike in 1901, the year previous. House of Lords ruled
that company was within rights to do so, therefore strikes
would be impossible. Conservatives refused to pass
legislation to overrule the Lords judgement. Trade
Unions pushed towards Labour.
1.3 Chinese labourers were being imported into
South Africa as they worked for low wages.
Trade Unionists feared if they came to Britain it
would decrease wages at home,
unemployment already high and without
adequate support. Also caused moral outcry.
1.4 1904 Licensing Act proposed to compensate brewers for the closing of
public houses and cancellation of licences. Temperance nonconformists
outraged that their taxes should be spent on something they opposed.
2 Social Factors
2.1 Despite the Boer War's victory in 1900, it was far more costly in
lives and money than anticipated. Also revealed the need for
social reform, 25% of volunteers rejected as they were unfit. Led
to concerns about the physical decline of the British race.
2.2 Neglect of social reform. Liberals were already developing new
form of Liberalism in which State would play greater role in
ensuring minimum living standards. Booth and Rowntree's
surveys found that a third of population was living in poverty, 10x
more than government thought.
3 Economic Factors
3.1 The Tariff Reform campaign 1903 was launched by Joseph
Chamberlain. He aimed to reintroduce tariffs, lower on goods
coming from within empire than outside of empire. This policy
was known as Imperial Protectionism, which was argued to
protect British jobs. But voters feared dearer food and falling