“In the past the internal stability of the capitalist regime was in large measure assured by a division of labour and responsibility between Conservatism and Liberalism. The break-up of Liberalism exposes all the other contradictions in the world position of bourgeois Britain at the same time as it reveals the internal crisis of the regime. The upper circles of the Labour Party are politically very close to the Liberals; but they are incapable of restoring stability to British parliamentarism since the Labour Party, in its present form, itself expresses a temporary stage in the revolutionary development of the working class. MacDonald’s seat is even shakier than Lloyd George’s. At the beginning of the 1850s Marx thought that the Conservative Party would soon quit the scene and that political development would follow the line of a struggle between Liberalism and socialism. This perspective presupposed a rapid revolutionary development in Britain and in Europe. Just as, for example, our own Cadet Party (Constitutional-Democrats) became, under the pressure of the revolution, the sole party of the landowners and the bourgeoisie, so British Liberalism would have absorbed the Conservative Party and become the sole party of property, if a revolutionary onslaught by the proletariat had developed in the course of the latter half of the nineteenth century. But Marx’s prophecy was made on the very eve of a new period of rapid capitalist development (1851-1873). Chartism finally disappeared (4). The workers’ movement took the path of trade unionism. The inner contradictions of the ruling class took on the appearance of a struggle between the Liberal and the Conservative Parties. By rocking the parliamentary swing from right to left and from left to right, the bourgeoisie found a vent for the opposition feelings of the working masses” [Leon Trotsky, ‘Where is Britain Going?’ (1925), 1. ‘The Decline of Britain’, Trotsky Internet Archive, 1999, 2007] [(4) The first political movement of the British working class. Chartism took up the traditional demands of universal manhood suffrage and other Parliamentary reforms, and tried to achieve them by methods including petitions, strikes and armed insurrection during the period from 1837 to 1848. The strikers were beaten back to work and the insurrectionists were transported to Australia. The three petitions presented to Parliament in the period had enormous working class support, but were contemptuously rejected with large displays of force and arguments about the sanctity of property and the constitution]

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