Fears about the fiscal deficit and the possibility of a run on sterling caused MacDonald and Snowdon to take drastic action in the economic crisis of 1931. However, they could not win the support of the trade unions and the cabinet, so headed up a ‘National’ Government of Conservatives and Liberals. Labour was decimated in the elections of 1931 and 1935 – not returning to power until Churchill’s war-time coalition.
During the 20th century, Britain underwent a major transformation. A country in which a law-abiding individual would hardly notice the existence of the state had become one in which, from the cradle to the grave, no one could avoid it. An empire controlling the destiny of one-quarter of the human race, having no allies because she needed none, had become an offshore island with an ambiguous relationship towards the Continent. How did this come about and what were its consequences?
This lecture is part of the series Britain in the 20th Century: Progress and Decline.
Named for Sir Thomas Gresham, Gresham College was founded in 1597 and is currently located at Barnard's Inn Hall in central London. Since then, Gresham's professors have provided free public lectures to residents of London. These lectures teach on the subjects of the seven original professorships--Astronomy, Divinity, Mathematics, Law, Music, Medicine, Rhetoric--as well as Commerce, which was added in 1985. In addition to the professorships, the College also hosts frequent seminars and conferences.