By J. R. Wordie
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Additional info for Agriculture and Politics in England, 1815–1939
Woodward, Age of Reform, pp. 92, 186–8, 664–7. 51. Gash, Aristocracy and People, p. 249. 52. M. Taylor, The Decline of British Radicalism, 1847–1860 (Oxford, 1995) pp. C. Finn, After Chartism: Class and Nation in English Radical Politics, 1848–1874 (Cambridge, 1993) pp. 60–141. 53. Beckett, Aristocracy in England, pp. 463–4. 54. C. Cook and J. Stevenson, Modern British History, 1714–1987 (1988) p. 69. 55. K. Ensor, England, 1870–1914 (Oxford, 1936) pp. 294–6, 424–5. 56. J. Hanham, The Reformed Electoral System in Great Britain, 1832–1914 (1968) pp.
Moreover, even the Conservative Party, led by politically astute men, was very wary of appearing to favour the agricultural sector, in view of the new electoral landscape of Britain. 61 But even to give the appearance of undue favouritism to food producers at the expense of food consumers in the early years of the twentieth century was a very dangerous policy in electoral terms, as I try to show in Chapter 2. J. R. Wordie 27 Ewen Green asks whether even the Conservative Party could still be regarded as the ‘farmers’ friend’ at this time, and concludes in Chapter 6 below that the question remained an open one in 1914.
It will be argued here that prior to 1840 protest against the Corn Laws from the labouring classes was virtually nonexistent, while protests from the urban middle classes were few, intermittent, muddled in purpose, muted in tone, and completely ineffectual. Criticism of the Corn Laws from radical MPs and their pamphleteering supporters outside Parliament was far more consistent and better reasoned, at least from 1822, but these campaigners were few in number, and preached to a small, though highly appreciative audience of literate intellectuals like themselves.