Explaining changes in political party fortunes in Greater London 1918-1931
This thesis is a case study of the party politics of Greater London 1918-193 1. First, and to place its conclusions in context, the thesis properly defines the area of Greater London with which it deals. The region, chosen so as to provide an area small enough to deal with in detail but large enough to find many types of locality within it, was becoming more of a distinct entity during the 1920s, and growing rapidly. The changes in Greater London and their political implications are examined. As a result of the Great War, the 1916-18 political realignment and related upheaval, and the franchise extension in 1918, the parties faced a new political landscape. Dealing with the three main parties in turn, the thesis looks at the tactics and machinery each employed to deal with it. It touches on both local and parliamentary electoral contests, and evaluates the success of the approaches each party took. The local and regional strategies of the parties, and what happened to them, are placed in the context of current historical debates. Case studies of particular localities within Greater London, and of the role of both the local and national press in London politics, are used to develop further specific points about political party fortunes in the 1920s. The thesis finds that different parties used similar tactics when it suited them, and varied tactics between areas to achieve the best results. Parties were each affected by internal problems and by tendencies to introspection. The thesis also finds evidence that the Labour breakthrough in Greater London in July 1945 was simmering beneath the surface in the 1920s, despite failing, for the most part, to manifest itself electorally.