Authority and Crises
This chapter arrives at the apex of power in the Conservative Party—the Leader of the Party. It analyses the office of Party Leader: their rise to the top, the machinery by which they ‘emerge’ or are chosen, their roles and duties in that post, and the mechanisms and difficulties involved in their removal. The styles of leadership exhibited by the five Leaders of the period are also considered and compared. The second part of the chapter focuses upon a fact that, whilst apparently politically dominant and electorally successful, the Conservative Party between 1920 and 1940 was almost constantly affected by internal disunity which manifested as visible dissent and public opposition to the Leader or his policy. The final part of this chapter focuses on the four main crises of the Coalition in 1921–22, protectionism in 1929–31, India in 1929–35 and ‘appeasement’ in 1936–39 are considered first in terms of various common themes and patterns, and then the causes and outcome are examined in each case.
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