Can British Labor Come Back?
Planning England's “Scandinavian” Future
THE remarkable thing about the British general election of October 1959 was not that the Conservatives won, but that anyone should have thought they might lose. Politicians are notoriously given to sudden panic waves on the eve of polling, but even so they might have reflected that, with all the odds in their favor, the Conservatives could not well fail to succeed, unless their day as a party was definitely over; and nothing this year suggested that Labor was capable of replacing them. This simple reflection seems indeed to have sustained some nervous Tories during the last hectic week of the campaign; but elsewhere -notably at Labor headquarters-a great deal of significance was read into opinion polls which showed an unusually large number of waverers. These turned out to have been mostly people who did not greatly care for either of the two major parties, and who at the last moment decided to plump for the Liberals. Since there were not enough of them, the Macmillan government was never in danger, and its present enlarged majority -though excessive in terms of actual votes cast-is a pretty good indicator of the balance of forces.
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