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AHC: Have Labour and the Liberals be the two major parties of Britain Politics?

Time Enough

"Enthusiastic Cis Male Partner"
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So with a POD no earlier than 1910, how could you have the Liberals and Labour be the main two parties of British Politics?

Given the fluid nature of the Conservative party over the years and the policy’s of the Liberals this maybe be hard but I don’t think it would be impossible. I guess you probably need to have a more Socially Conservative Labour Party which...isn’t completely hard and maybe the National Party or similar being a bigger presence.
 

Time Enough

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Maybe it could relate to Unionism in Northern Ireland, successful Home Rule leading to a split in the Tories similar to the Liberal/Liberal Unionist split?
I read up about the possible split, so during the Constitutional Crisis there was a proposed 'Radical Tory' National Party which could find itself splitting off and aligning with the Lloyd-George Liberals during the First World War. Though that would probably lead to shuffling around and likely the emergence of a new party that would likely not be called the Liberals but be comprised of DLG supporters.
 

Charles EP M.

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Feels the easiest is the Tories split in the early 1910s and/or a different WW1. Someone else is PM going in, or more of a coalition government under Liberal control that gives them the post-war khaki election bounce, or a shorter war that Asquith can win. ("No war" would delay the expansion of the vote and that makes it harder to have Labour)

After that, maybe the Liberals sort their shit out for the 1922 election instead of after (I dunno how though), allowing them to do better and capitalise on that in the following 1923 and 1924 elections - enough to have a majority in 1924, clarifying the fight as Lab VS Lib and the Tories are a third party. That would give you lots and lots of David Lloyd George, it's Lloyd George as PM from 1916-22 and then he's back as PM from 1924-1929, the GOAT of Goats, before Labour inherits Britain on the eve of Depression, GOOD LUCK.

Evil one and longshot, Jeremy Thorpe is never whalloped by scandal and the the Liberals seem stronger, more dynamic etc, and the Gang of Four are wheedled into defecting to the Liberals instead of forming their own party; you basically got a version of the SDP/Liberal Alliance except it's all one party, effectively an earlier Lib Dems in all but name, able to take better advantage of disgruntled voters in 1983. The Tories fail to meet the challenge but Labour adapts for mumble-mumble, 1987-97 Liberals before Labour comes home.

(The longest shot, the Tories massively crap the bed at some point and are damaged enough that the Liberals can shift in)
 

Nomad

Well-known member
I think this is achievable in a TL where the Falklands War is lost, or you somehow get an election called at the Alliance's peak before then. The Tories were a lot more vulnerable to a strong Alliance performance than Labour, and you could well end up with them in third place in terms of seats. Maybe then have them prop up an Alliance minority, FPTP is kept, and they suffer another massive loss of seats at the following election.

Alliance merges into the Lib Dems or something like it, Labour is firmly entrenched as the main opposition, and the Tories (if they still exist) are basically a right wing version of OTL's Liberals/Lib Dems, maybe seeing a minor resurgence as a populist force in recent years.
 

RyanF

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Maybe it could relate to Unionism in Northern Ireland, successful Home Rule leading to a split in the Tories similar to the Liberal/Liberal Unionist split?
Don't know how you'd achieve that but it's the tastiest prospect. A split of the Tories into Conservatives (who got the National Liberal route into the Liberals) and the Unionists who remain the third party and have a bedrock in Scotland and Norn.
 

Makemakean

Mr Makemean
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So with a POD no earlier than 1910, how could you have the Liberals and Labour be the main two parties of British Politics?

Given the fluid nature of the Conservative party over the years and the policy’s of the Liberals this maybe be hard but I don’t think it would be impossible. I guess you probably need to have a more Socially Conservative Labour Party which...isn’t completely hard and maybe the National Party or similar being a bigger presence.
This basically was what happened in Denmark (though admittedly, Højre/De Konservative have had periods when they have been bigger than Venstre, as in fact they are in the polls right now).

It was accomplished as Venstre successfully positioned themselves as the party of farmers and the countryside, and from thereon they became the main centre-right force for most of the 20th century. The Højre on the other hand lost a true natural base, becoming an odd coalition of very aristocratic and wealthy landowners and certain segments of the urban middle class.

If you want something similar in Britain though, I think you need to go back at least to Gladstone and Disraeli, if not Palmerston and Derby. Make sure that the Whiggish tendency continues to dominate the Liberals.
 

Indicus

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This basically was what happened in Denmark (though admittedly, Højre/De Konservative have had periods when they have been bigger than Venstre, as in fact they are in the polls right now).

It was accomplished as Venstre successfully positioned themselves as the party of farmers and the countryside, and from thereon they became the main centre-right force for most of the 20th century. The Højre on the other hand lost a true natural base, becoming an odd coalition of very aristocratic and wealthy landowners and certain segments of the urban middle class.

If you want something similar in Britain though, I think you need to go back at least to Gladstone and Disraeli, if not Palmerston and Derby. Make sure that the Whiggish tendency continues to dominate the Liberals.
Wouldn’t that make the Liberal downfall worse, as the Whiggish tendency was rather aristocratic in nature?
 

Time Enough

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Feels the easiest is the Tories split in the early 1910s and/or a different WW1. Someone else is PM going in, or more of a coalition government under Liberal control that gives them the post-war khaki election bounce, or a shorter war that Asquith can win. ("No war" would delay the expansion of the vote and that makes it harder to have Labour)

After that, maybe the Liberals sort their shit out for the 1922 election instead of after (I dunno how though), allowing them to do better and capitalise on that in the following 1923 and 1924 elections - enough to have a majority in 1924, clarifying the fight as Lab VS Lib and the Tories are a third party. That would give you lots and lots of David Lloyd George, it's Lloyd George as PM from 1916-22 and then he's back as PM from 1924-1929, the GOAT of Goats, before Labour inherits Britain on the eve of Depression, GOOD LUCK.
Don't know how you'd achieve that but it's the tastiest prospect. A split of the Tories into Conservatives (who got the National Liberal route into the Liberals) and the Unionists who remain the third party and have a bedrock in Scotland and Norn.
You know you could combine the National Party idea I mentioned earlier with this, so the National Party splits off during the 1911 Constitutional Crisis, But the stress knocks the wind out of Asquith leading to a DLG ally or supporter taking over. The remaining Tories bicker over Free Trade and the Unionists split off leaving the remaining Tories to wither during WW1.

So combine this with DLG doing stuff and the Labour Party become the party of more Bevin and the National Labour lot instead of Ramsay MacDonald then you have the National party as a eternal potential coalition partner with the discussions of Free-Trade versus Protectionism being the Liberals versus Labour or something. Not the most thought out, but it has potential.
 

Makemakean

Mr Makemean
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Wouldn’t that make the Liberal downfall worse, as the Whiggish tendency was rather aristocratic in nature?
That’s rather the point, trying to win over rural landowners, becoming the party of the countryside as opposed to the Tories. I’d reckon you kind of need Lord Salisbury to have an accident, though.
 

Indicus

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That’s rather the point, trying to win over rural landowners, becoming the party of the countryside as opposed to the Tories. I’d reckon you kind of need Lord Salisbury to have an accident, though.
But that would only make them the party of the agrarian elite, surely? Unless there’s no secret ballot, that would put the Liberals in opposition to the non-elites living in the countryside from a Labour Party that would be able to more decisively hold up the standard of land reform without the Liberals taking it first. And as you say, that would put them on similar ground as the Tories.

I think the “Three Acres and a Cow” land reform movement supported by people like Joseph Chamberlain in the 1880s would be the way to this. If the Liberals do these sorts of radical land reforms, that would make the Liberals the party of the countryside, and if they lose the labour vote by fumbling the issue of unions, that would make them decisively agrarian in character.
 

fluttersky

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Hmm

Blair gets a much larger majority in 1997 after the Tories essentially have an outright split on the Europe question, keeps the landslide majority going into 2001 at which point a stronger LDs manage to become the official opposition, and then by the time 2005 rolls around the most feasible anti-Blair candidate is a charismatic Lib Dem leader. With both parties being economically centrist, the fault lines become more along the lines of other issues, with the LDs winning in 2005 thanks to opposition to the Iraq War.

The Tories never reunite and internal division becomes their downfall; many of their big figures leave politics, a few of the moderates from the pro-European wing end up finding themselves in Labour or the Lib Dems, while the anti-EU wing basically ends up as an alt-UKIP.
 

Time Enough

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The Tories never reunite and internal division becomes their downfall; many of their big figures leave politics, a few of the moderates from the pro-European wing end up finding themselves in Labour or the Lib Dems, while the anti-EU wing basically ends up as an alt-UKIP.
@Oppo has done that scenario a couple of times, in which Labour falls under the Cruddas crowd as a result, whilst the Lib Dems become the Lib Dem-Green Alliance etc.

Charles Kennedy would probably be the best choice for this scenario, though you would have to deal with his Alcoholism.
 
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