13 May 2005


Some more trivia I've not seen, or not seen teased out. The last time a party won a parliamentary majority with less than 40 per cent of the vote was in 1922, when the Tories got a stonking landslide on 38 per cent.

But they lost in the next election, a little over a year later, despite taking almost exactly the same share of the vote – which of course led to the first Labour government under Ramsay Macdonald. And one reason they lost (not the only one) was that they botched choosing a leader while in government.

Someone at Labour HQ should check out The Impact of Labour, 1920-1924 by Maurice Cowling, the Conservative historian whose salon at Peterhouse, Cambridge, yielded so many of the bright sparks of Thatcherism. There really is nothing better on how not to manage a Commons majority.

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