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Reflections On Likely Outcome Of Labour's Win

, Special to Star. LONDON, July 27. NOW that the immediate excitement caused>by the British election results has died down it is interesting to examine some of the sidelights of the campaign and Labour's sweeping victory.

Receiving 47 per cent of the votes, Labour got 60 per cent of the seats. Britain's "first-past-the-post" electoral system worked well in the days when the issue was clear cut between two parties, but the British elections have shown, that extraordinary results come when more than two sets of candidates are in the field. Figures excluding a few disputed totals showed that 24,855,012 votes had been cast and that 627 members had been returned—39,63l votes a seat.

Of these votes, Labour got 11,899, 188 and these gave them 390 seats--30.510 votes a seat.

The Conservatives got 8,960,825 votes, and these gave 195 seats— 45,952 votes a seat. So it took 15,442 more votes to return a Conservative man than a Labour man. Strange Figures Outside the two main parties, 3,994,999 votes were cast, and these returned 42 members—9s,ll9 votes per seat. Dividing the House votes (excluding the Independents) on a rough assessment, giving Ind. Labour, Communist and Commonwealth to Labour and National, LiberalNational and Liberal to the Conservatives as the largest non-Labour party, the totals would be: Labour 12.157,891 Non-Labour 12,151,491 Difference 6,400 Seats, on the same allocation, are:— Labour 396 Anti-Labour 221 Difference 175 It is not really as simple as that, for if there had been some system of Preference voting, a proportion of liberal votes must have gone to Labour.

In the 1935 elections, the system worked the other way—10,496,300 votes gave the Conservatives 361 seats (29,075 votes a seat), and 8,325,491 votes gave Labour 165 seats (50,457 a seat).

Labour gained 3,573,697 on their 1935 total, a swing of 1,786,848, and this gave them 125 more seats. The Conservatives lost 1,535,475 votes, a swing of 767,737, and this lost them 166 seats.

What the City Thinks

Recovered from the first unwelcome shock of the election landslide, City circles are inclined to think that Labour's win may not be such a bad thing for business after all.

There is a tendency to question whether the nationalisation of railways and other industries would not mean, after all, higher purchase prices on expropriation than the prevailing market quotations. A fair section of City opinion, despite its trust In the virtues of private enterprise, concedes that there may be something to be said for the nationalisation of road and rail transport, and of industries such as coal mining, wnere there is an obvious need for heavy capital expenditure on modernisation and re-eguipment.

City circles, although admittedly seeking consolation for the unwelcome election result, expressed the view that the problems lying ahead, with the possibility of strikes, goslow campaigns and perhaps more violent exhibition of labour unrest, might best be tackled by the Labour party.

The increasing restiveness of the British public against controls and regulations, however justifiable, will add to the difficulties of the Government, and its task will not be eased by the evident unwillingness of workers who have been earning high wages in aircraft and munition factories to return to their old jobs.

Share market dealers have been surprised by the paucity of selling orders provoked by the election result.

Foreign Policy Fears that Mr. Churchill's defeat will affect Britain's foreign policy, linked with misgivings as to its effect on the Pacific war, are widely expressed by American observers. The foreign editor of the Scripps Howard newspapers says that while the general direction may be unchanged, China may find it easier to bargain for the return of Hongkong, and Moscow mav meet fewer obstacles in London if "it expands in the Middle East and Far East. Echoing the common belief that an immediate consequence of the elections will be the speeding up or leftist activity throughout Europe the Paris correspondent of the Baltimore Sun suggests that the isolation of the United States in the Big Three discussions, and the inclusion of Greece in the Soviet sphere of influence, are likely. "Conservatives in every country are deeply discouraged, while leftists are stimulated and no longer fear British intervention, direct or indirect, such as occurred in Greece and Belgium," the paper says.

Australia "Closer to U.S." Congressmen admit alarm lest leftwingers such as Professor Laski, Aneurin Bevan and Strauss push Mr. Attlee too hard. They are also fearful that the vote demonstrates that the British public has little interest in the Pacific war. If this were true, it could cause bitter resentment here and would also embarrass Australia. In this connection Mr. Attlee's declaration that "the first thing we have to do is finish the war against Japan" is welcomed, but diplomatic circles point out that it remains to be seen how it will be carried out. They recall that Aneurin Bevan and other Labour men are cool towards Britain's Pacific commitments and some diplomatic observers believe that if the opinion of these men prevails Australia will be left "out on a limb," and will have to move closer into the orbit of the United states.

Britain's repudiation of her great war leader is particularly puzzling to Americans, inas.-nuch as the American nation stoot 1 by President Roosevelt, despite the iact that large numbers never accep\ed him, ts Britain once did Mr. Churchill Disgust at Mr. Churchill's "partisan mud slinging" was given to American correspondents by British troops in Potsdam as their reason for voting against him. This accords with the general belief of American newspapers that the Conservatives lost the election bv inept campaigning. American correspondents found that British soldiers in Germany believed Labour would get them new homes and jobs quicker than the Conservatives. It also appears that the Americans' description of their •wonderful homes and high wages made the Tommies discontented.

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Bibliographic details

Reflections On Likely Outcome Of Labour's Win, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 180, 1 August 1945

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Reflections On Likely Outcome Of Labour's Win Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 180, 1 August 1945

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