British Elections: Prime Minister Clement Atlee
British Elections: Prime Minister Clement Atlee - swept in by huge majority in 1945 - clinging on in 1950. The electorate giveth - the electorate taketh away.

February 27, 1950 – Coal Strike: Week 3 – British Elections: Morning After – Incident At Tsingtao

Prime Minister Clement Atlee

British Elections: Prime Minister Clement Atlee – swept in by a big majority in 1945 – hanging on by thumbs in 1950. The electorate giveth – the electorate taketh away.

February 27, 1950 – CBS Radio – Edward R. Murrow and The News – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

February 27, 1950 – Busy news day. Starting with news of the Coal Strike heading into its third week and its effects were snowballing across the country. Washington was making a desperate two-pronged effort to get the miners back to work. A Federal contempt trial was moving slowly. The union pleaded innocent to disobeying the no-strike order and insisted that no strike had been called; that each of its 372,000 miners individually decided to knock off work. Contract talks continued, but they lasted only 45 minutes before they were recessed. Some of the negotiators were testifying at the trial. The ripple effect of the strike was the Steel industry began shutting down in earnest with 170,000 persons out of work in addition to the miners. Coal consumption cuts were ordered throughout the country as no one had any idea how long this strike would last.

In London – Postmortems over the elections and the loss by the Labour Party and Prime Minister Clement Atlee and victory by former Prime Minister and Conservative leader Winston Churchill were being studied and discussed, a week after the election. The 1950 United Kingdom general elections were the first ever general election to be held after a full term of Labour government. The election was held on Thursday 23 February 1950. Despite polling over 700,000 votes more than the Conservatives, and receiving more votes than they had during the 1945 general election, Labour obtained a slim majority of just five seats—a stark contrast to 1945, when they had achieved a comfortable 146-seat majority.There was a national swing towards the Conservatives, whose performance in terms of popular vote was dramatically better than in 1945. Labour called another general election in 1951. Turnout increased to 83.9%, the highest turnout in UK general elections under universal suffrage.

And trouble was brewing in the Far East, at least for the U.S. – two American ships were air-bombed in the Chinese Communist port of Tsingtao. The 8,000 ton Freighter Pioneer Dale was bombed and strafed as it approached the port. Other reports of American ships being attacked at Tsingtao. The State Department issued a statement claiming the attacks came from Chinese Nationalist planes; that the Nationalists were trying to extend their blockade to Communist-controlled Northern ports. That blockade was not recognized by the United States. Also in the spotlight was a brewing confrontation between India and Pakistan and North Vietnam’s alignment with Soviet Russia and a recognition of Tito’s Yugoslavia by North Vietnamese President Ho Chi-Minh.

History in the making and history in the wings. And that’s just a small slice of what went on, this February 27, 1950 as presented by CBS Radio’s Edward R. Murrow And The News.


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