On the other hand

On the other hand, there were disagreements in policies between the two parties during this period that demonstrate the lack of post-war consensus between the two parties. Under Labour’s post-war government, several key industries were nationalised, and one of Churchill’s first acts when he returned to power was to denationalise the iron and steel industries in 1953. This clearly shows a dissimilarity between the two parties policies as the Conservatives here made a clear effort to reverse the policies of the previous Labour government.

However, at the time that the nationalisation of these industries was initially put through there was even some disagreement amongst the Labour party with several key Labour politicians disagreeing with this move. This demonstrates that actually there was a slight sense of consensus between the two parties as actually neither of them were particularly in favour of the nationalisation of these industries. Another example of this disagreement in policies between the two parties during this period would be the decolonisation of countries all across Africa.

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The Conservatives stood against this policy that Labour had begun as they were aware of the detrimental effect losing parts of their Empire would have on Britain’s position as a world power, however could do little to prevent further decolonisation as they had already lost the “jewel” of their Empire, India, in 1947. Although this policy of decolonisation was continued under the Conservative government of this period, it cannot be considered as part of the post-war consensus as it was continued more out of necessity than because the Conservatives actually wanted to continue with it.

In conclusion, the extent of the post-war consensus during the period of Conservative dominance is fairly difficult to evaluate. With respect to other political eras, between the years 1951 and 1964 it would appear that there was a greater convergence of opinions and policies between the two parties than at many other points in British history through their shared policies of Keynesianism, the continuation of the Welfare state and the way that they were both shaped through their experiences of war. However, this period cannot be defined completely as a ‘consensus’ since areas of disagreement between the two parties were still evident.