October 26, 1951 – for the first time since suffering defeat in July of 1945, Winston Churchill succeeded in taking back his role as Prime Minister in an election which saw a dramatic turn to the Conservative and away from the Labour government of Clement Attlee. Although considered a victory by the narrowest of margins, it represented deep divisions within the Political parties and among the British voters.
The Conservatives had, as of this day, 17 members in the House of Commons, with five elections still in question. The majority, as it stood, was still large enough to conduct the affairs of government. It was large enough to de-nationalize the Steel industry and return it to private ownership. But it wasn’t large enough to undertake bold, vigorous or unpopular legislation. Looking at the Popular vote, the Conservatives now represented a minority government. Because the Labour Party polled about 200,000 more votes than the Conservatives. The Parliamentary seats which changed hands were considered marginal ones, where the shift of a few hundred votes determined the outcome. The end result, many speculated, represented no clearer mandate, no freedom of action or maneuver than the Labour government had for the previous 18 months. It also meant the Conservative government was going to have no easier time with organized labor in Britain than their predecessors. The election offered no surprises and no significant swing in opinion or allegiance. At the moment, the divisions between the parties was so deep, that one party wouldn’t listen to or believe what the other part said. Politics in 1951.
There was other news for this day – anticipated meetings between Churchill and Stalin – the post-war atmosphere of trade and the economy in Britain and the U.S. – striking Dock Workers along the East coast and Truman’s demand to return to work at once.
And so much more, for this October 26, 1951 – as reported by Edward R. Murrow and The News.
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