On April 5, 1955 Churchill resigned and premier became A. Eden who called the elections for the following May. The conservatives, having regained the majority, immediately had to block the industrial recession and the sharp drop in the pound, resorting to a very strong loan from the International Monetary Fund.
According to Abbreviationfinder, important political repercussions also occurred after the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt, and Eden was replaced by H. MacMillan on 9 January 1957. The new government was able to give some improvement to the economic situation and so on 8 October 1959 he confirmed his leadership of the town.
To try to stop the inflationary pressure, MacMillan invited all sectors of the economy to practice greater exports. And furthermore, British foreign policy was always aimed at maintaining its influence in the Middle East, but when the undertaking to maintain possession of the Suez Canal failed, also due to the opposition of powers such as the United States and the Soviet Union economic-political leadership in the Middle East passed right into the hands of the United States. However, Britain continued its policy of relaxation and proposed the establishment of a free trade zone.
To discuss the problems of the Middle East, Soviet Prime Minister Khrushchev proposed a summit and MacMillan suggested the meeting of a Security Council at the level of heads of state. The date was established on May 16, 1960 in Paris, after the famous visit that Khrushchev made to the United States (with the famous episode of shoes).
But this meeting could not take place because a serious accident occurred on May 1, 1960. An American reconnaissance aircraft of the U-2 type was shot down on Soviet territory and for this reason, despite MacMillan’s mediation action, the summit was canceled.
Meanwhile, the British economic situation was worsening due to the continuous increase in imports, that of prices and wages. To stem these drawbacks, new ministerial functions had also been set up, such as that for controlling public spending. Then Britain advanced the hypothesis of joining the European Economic Community, but in 1963 France opposed a veto, so the negotiations were interrupted.
Unemployment was on the rise and as if this had not been enough, the nation was involved in a major scandal relating to the morality of a government representative, Perfume, so that MacMillan was forced to resign.
In October of that same year, he was appointed Prime Minister of Home. During this period, Parliament also discussed the possibility of renouncing the noble title to access the House of Commons. Meanwhile, the election campaign got underway and the Labor Party, helped by the deteriorating economic conditions with the ongoing deficit of the balance of payments, managed to win the elections of October 1964 tightly; new premier was H. Wilson. He immediately made use of international loans to revive especially manufacturers.
In the years 1964/65 English foreign policy had to deal with important events, first of all the unilateral declaration of independence of Rhodesia.
The elections of 1966 confirmed Wilson’s government, which sought to implement the elaborate economic plan with ever greater determination. But many factors were against him, and trade union demonstrations and strikes, the cooling of relations with the United States for the Vietnam war, the less productive surveys for the recovery of the European Community topic, the dispute with the Spain regarding Gibraltar, the failed attempts to reach agreements with the racist Prime Minister of Rhodes I. Smith and the United Nations and, finally, the Arab-Israeli conflict that led to the withdrawal of the British from Aden. And to make matters worse, other economic hardships resulted in more cuts in public spending and freezing wage increases,
Meanwhile, abroad, in addition to the negative situations already present, there was also the outbreak of the Nigerian civil war and the arrival of violent unrest in Northern Ireland between Catholics and Protestants.
The general political elections of 1970 brought conservatives back to the government, Premier Heat. The situation was always the dominant theme of the government. The 1971/72 years were extremely difficult. On January 1, 1973, Britain became part of the European Economic Community. But the country’s negativities always remained standing, so that the subsequent elections brought Wilson and his Labor back into fashion. But in these elections the votes of the liberals also increased. In February 1975 Mrs. M. Thatcher became leader of the conservative party. In 1976, while the Irish situation continued to deteriorate, Wilson was able to obtain voluntary wage freezes for six months from the unions, and finally the British had to abandon Singapore and Malta. Wilson’s resignation arrived in March. IS, after other negative political and economic events, it came to the administrative elections of May 1979 in which the conservatives obtained a resounding victory. Mrs Thatcher was the premier and totally applied the whole program formulated during her election campaign, that is: no welfare, reduction of state intervention in the economic field, reduction of public expenditure, privatization of some services, lightening of the tax levy, favoring the private initiative and new discipline for trade union activities. At the beginning the system brought notable improvements, and then worsened, at least in the employment field, in the two-year period 1980/81.
And while within the Congress of the Conservative Party the line of the so-called “iron lady” was shared and approved, in the Labor party there were negative repercussions; it was at the center of a serious crisis, so much so that the leader Callaghan resigned, replaced in October 1980 by an exponent of the moderate left M. Foot. In addition to Foot’s confirmation, the 1981 Labor Congress also launched a program calling for the withdrawal of Great Britain from the European Economic Community, unilateral atomic disarmament, the elimination of private schools and hospitals and the renationalization of privatized companies.
The right wing of the Labor party, in turn, made a split and formed a new party, the social democratic one which allied itself with the liberals. In recent years there have been various social tensions in Britain, strikes in the industrial sectors and even a certain shift to the left of the unions.
The government went through a period of crisis that passed into the background when the war broke out in the Falkland Islands in the spring of 1982, in the Spanish language Malvinas. The sovereignty on these islands was claimed by Argentina, which however had to yield in front of the English military superiority and renounce the islands. The figure of Mrs. Thatcher, after this affair, conducted with firmness, came out considerably enriched so much that in the subsequent elections of June 1983 the premier was confirmed and continued in her program.
Then in March 1984 a miners’ strike began, which lasted for a year until March 1985, and the unions suffered a strong defeat and could no longer, for a long time, oppose the policy of the “iron lady”.
In foreign policy, Britain was increasingly linked to the United States. With their president Ronald Reagan shared dissent towards the Soviet Union on the occasion of the invasion of Afghanistan.
In December 1985 an agreement was signed with the United States on a research program for strategic space defense. In March 1987, after an action of relaxation towards the Soviet Union, a bilateral agreement was reached between the two countries in terms of military defense. All these successes which, moreover, had led to a certain economic stability, with a decrease in inflation and unemployment, especially in the southern parts of Great Britain, led the Conservative party in June 1987 to its third consecutive electoral victory.
But in the spring of the same year, the signs of an economic crisis began, mainly due to the 15% increase in the discount rate and internal government disputes over monetary policy. Relations between members of the same party and Home, Foreign Minister, quickly deteriorated. He resigned in July 1989. Then in the second half of 1990 a real recession was more evident.
In the meantime, diplomatic relations with Iran had broken in March 1989 regarding the asylum that was given to an Iranian writer, S. Rushdie, author of the “Satanic Verses”, obviously damaging the person of Ayatollah Khomeini, head of the ‘Iran.
In the spring of 1990 a new municipal tax was adopted. A great discontent arose which, combined with a certain reborn credibility towards a renewed Labor party, led by N. Kinnock, led to Thatcher’s resignation, and his replacement with J. Major, who immediately assumed a softer political situation of the previous one.
Between 1991 and 1992 Major proceeded to privatize the electricity, telecommunications and transport sectors, then the abolition of the municipal tax and an increase in welfare contributions for employees. And in the political elections of April 1992 the conservatives maintained the majority.
But in all this time in the history of Great Britain, and in particular during the decade of the nineties, the situation in Northern Ireland was undoubtedly the real thorn in the side. And even here a clear strategic division in the numerous terrorist actions has been evident. Catholics have always directed their bloody attacks on British territory while Protestants have continued to terrorize Catholic villages in Ulster.
In recent years, a glimmer of hope has been kindled for the resolution of this truly serious situation, above all thanks to the proposals of the English secretary for Northern Ireland, P. Brooke.
Meanwhile Major, at the beginning softer and more condescending premier, slowly, finding himself facing real difficulties of conduct, ended up approaching the hard line that had been that of Thatcher. And again in the nineties the economic recession and the blockade of the European unification process, gradually translated into the withdrawal from the European Monetary System and the growing opposition to the dictates of the Maastricht Treaty. Among other things, this treaty in the social chapter was intended to protect workers from all over Europe with a view to joining the Union. This was not supported by the anti-Europeans who, however, with the fear of possible isolationism, with the 1993 European elections decided to ratify the treaty.
To try to make up for the large state budget deficit, Major ordered a heavy fuel tax to be applied. For this reason, the ruling party had to suffer difficulties that were so severe that it even caused a reshuffle. A serious government debacle was the October 1993 declaration of the closure of 31 mines with the layoff of some 30,000 people. The opposition was so strong that the government had to step back and reduce the number of mines to close.
Yet another failure occurred in November 1993 when a severe crackdown on justice against crime was announced. The proposed variants included the abolition of the accused’s right to silence, a measure already condemned by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
And then, amid scandals, corruption, fraud and maladministration, the only positive note occurred in June 1994 with the readmission to the Commonwealth of South Africa finally freed from Apartheid.
With the growing difficulties and the decline in consensus among the conservatives, Major resigned in June 1995.
Then came the unfortunate event of the “mad cow” which practically blocked the entire export of beef, and not only. And with all that, the May 1997 elections gave Tony Blair’s Labor party victory. After 18 years, Labor returned to government.
The government’s first decision was to decentralize power and establish much desired autonomous structures, for which a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly were built.
Between 1997 and 1998 there were conflicts between conservatives and Labor regarding some constitutional reforms that the latter asked for in relation to the monarchy.
The events, not exactly exemplary, of the royal family in recent years, had suggested to Labor the need to reduce the powers of the Crown, especially in view of a future election of Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, considered rather fragile. Blair always declared himself available to the royal family.
And with the passage of time the premier acquired more and more notoriety and esteem, especially for the continuous uninterrupted growth of the English economy, and the continuous decline in unemployment which in 1998 had stood at 6.5%.
In the summer of 1998 the weekly working hours were increased to no more than 48 hours, thus adapting to the dictates of the European Union. However, in December, two Blair government ministers accused of corruption had to resign, which slightly upset the popularity of the prime minister who on some occasions received criticism about government choices. Thus, while he obtained wide consensus of public opinion for the support offered in March-May 1999 in the Yugoslavia war, in the June following the European elections Blair had to register a serious defeat.
The Irish problem, despite the declaration of Britain’s renunciation of sovereignty over the territory, and of EIRE to the total union of the island, remained unsolved and still in June 1999 the peace process had to be stopped once again and therefore the transfer of powers from London to Belfast remained unfulfilled.