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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Philip Williamson

Williamson, P (1982). 'Safety First': Baldwin, the Conservative party, and the 1929 general election. Historical Journal 25(2): 385-409.

Author(s) from Durham


The Conservative party's preparations for the 1929 general election have been harshly treated by historians. Because the election was lost, they have understandably concentrated on explaining the defeat and so looked for weaknesses in Conservative leadership, policies and organization. It is also understandable that in the light of subsequent economic analysis, the Conservative election platform of ‘Safety First’ has suffered badly from comparison with the Keynesian-style policies of the Liberal party programme, We can conquer unemployment. But the contention here is that all too easily such hindsight has impeded a proper understanding of Conservative policies and tactics.