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Changes in post-war British Parliament: rhetorical culture of House of Commons

1918 The rhetorical culture of House of Commons after expansion of suffrage in Britain, when for first time a large influx of new Labor MPs and a small number of women entered Parliament.

While Conservative Party's attempts to link its oratory style to political virtue did have some success, bias factors alone are not enough to explain shift in rhetorical culture, which is partly due to reasons unrelated to change in institution itself.

As power shifted from legislature to executive and politics became increasingly professional, culture of oratory in House of Commons was shaped by a long-term evolution from discursive to programmatic government.

Thus, style and technique of parliamentary debate is influenced both by changing nature of state and by changing compromises between voters and political class in age of universal suffrage.

Changes in post-war British Parliament: rhetorical culture of House of Commons

In literature on interwar British political history, House of Commons is everywhere and nowhere.

There were just as many famous events going on throughout House of Commons: Lloyd George patted his forehead to suggest that Lord Northcliffe had gone mad; Baldwin called on trade unions to reconcile, prayed: "Lord, grant peace in our time"; Churchill howled at height of his abdication crisis, Chamberlain's frenzied reaction to announcement that he would visit Hitler in Munich to prevent war, and much more.

There is nowhere to go, for while a description of period would be incomplete without mentioning these lesser-known events, House of Commons itself is often seen simply as a place of political activity, rather than something to be analyzed as very institution that shapes events that take place. in him.

In other words, it's often taken for granted or, in other words, hidden in plain sight.

Changes in post-war British Parliament: rhetorical culture of House of Commons

Perhaps this is because, with regard to parliamentary ceremonies and procedures, much has been established during this period, for example, conduct of elections has undergone great changes and thus seems more clearly in need of revision and interpretation.

However, we cannot assume that similarity in appearance implies a continuity of social and political meaning, and, moreover, failure to raise question of what House of Commons meant to contemporaries at dawn of era of universal suffrage, has led to a general failure to investigate his role in still playing a central role in political life of country.

Analysis of rhetorical culture of House of Commons during this critical period, that is, how norms and expectations associated with parliamentary speech shape message conveyed, allows us to understand how institution is understood not only by MPs themselves, but also more widely understood by wider political class .

Although only minor procedural reforms were made during this period, political understanding of interwar Commons was controversial, and disputes over what that behavior was. manage.

Changes in post-war British Parliament: rhetorical culture of House of Commons

Political parties and individuals are under attack not just for what they say, but for how they say it, with debates about style of political rhetoric at heart of broader debate about political legitimacy both within Parliament and and beyond.

Of course, in times of economic crisis, major changes in structure of social class, and conflicting currents of religion and secularism, almost all institutions were more or less questioned, and in decades before 1918, Parliament avoided such doubts.

However, while importance of interwar disputes about parliamentary behavior should not be overstated, they can be seen as important and seen as part of a larger debate about "constitutionalism" and its attendant forms of political behavior. in other words, disagreements over parliamentary style are indicative of more general disagreements over British political culture and ideology during this period.

This debate comes at a time when role of House of Commons in relation to country as a whole is undoubtedly changing, and Kate Middlemas argues that "Parliament has ceased to be supreme governing body, political parties and parliaments are subordinate to executive and managerial power of state apparatus.

Changes in post-war British Parliament: rhetorical culture of House of Commons

The history of House of Commons at this point has largely been described as one of lamentable failures in modernizing procedures that were brought about by its incredible, seemingly innate conservatism to come."

On contrary, role of House of Commons as a place and object of public discussion has not received due attention, although, as in former times, it remains at center of most modern political reporting.

Brian Harrison noted twenty-five years ago that parliamentary speeches were "an aspect of politics that historians have unexpectedly neglected," and since then, Christopher Reid, providing an invaluable study of second half of eighteenth century, Joseph Meisel has made an important contribution to study of speeches of House of Commons during Gladstone era.

We also know quite a lot about parliament and role of its members, as well as about some subgroups of MPs (in particular, about women); there is also something about parliamentary humor, however there are still large gaps in our knowledge.

Changes in post-war British Parliament: rhetorical culture of House of Commons

At same time, contemporary British scholars have explored political language in several useful ways. However, only recently a small group of them began to explicitly view their technique as rhetorical analysis, and main focus was on speeches outside Parliament.

In existing literature, rhetoric is often viewed solely as product of skill of individual speakers.

A study of culture of rhetoric makes it clear that it is in fact a social phenomenon in which expectations of audience play a decisive role, and in case of House of Commons, these expectations are governed by a set of rules and generally accepted rules. restrictions, these rules and conventions themselves often have no practical significance and can be flexibly interpreted depending on situation.

These rules are very important, but as we know from fact that Westminster Model has worked differently in parliaments from Australia to Caribbean, rules themselves do not define rhetoric. culture.

Changes in post-war British Parliament: rhetorical culture of House of Commons

Sandra Harris views modern House of Commons as a "community of practice" where newcomers master institution through "situational learning". The sociocultural habits of Commons (including its rhetorical norms) is a notion that readers of political memoirs are sure to be familiar with, likening joining House of Commons to joining a new club or school.

Influx of Labor MPs in 1920s and a minority of women. The characteristics of era lead to broader questions about parliament and parliamentary discourse, which in turn shed light on Britain's broader rhetorical political culture.

Changes in composition of House of Commons are not only about newcomers adjusting to a static rhetorical culture, culture itself is also changing, not least because rhetorical practice, while subject to formal rules, is controversial because of its association with other values. These values ​​are also often expressed by people who are not members of Congress themselves.

It is therefore important to take into account debate about parliamentary practice, both inside and outside parliament, since parliamentary reports and biased comments could not only influence external perception of speech, but could themselves shape oratory practice of deputies.

Changes in post-war British Parliament: rhetorical culture of House of Commons

Members of Congress are performers who read their own announcements and seem to be sure to adjust their techniques. Thus, descriptions of procedures of House of Commons and debate about them influences debate in House of Commons.

This is certainly not a new phenomenon, but way it worked was influenced by changing media culture of time, with an increasing focus on "celebrity".

It is therefore impossible to think of House of Commons only "on its own" without discussing wider political culture that it embraces. Similarly, highly political nature of "parliamentary tactics" can only be fully understood in terms of rhetorical culture that surrounds it.

In fact, literal parliamentary tactics, as opposed to usual political tactics employed by people who are members of Congress, are a dying art in and of themselves.

With transfer of power to executive, big game that Disraeli played in House of Commons in 1867 is no longer possible, so rhetorical culture in House of Commons is not only influenced by "Labor influence" but also changes in nature of the country.

Changes in post-war British Parliament: rhetorical culture of House of Commons

John Lawrence's eloquent account of "transformation of British public policy" after First World War shows that politicians were increasingly inclined towards high-profile and unacceptable behavior, which became an integral part of electoral rite.

How does Parliament fit into this picture, and what role does rhetoric of House of Commons play in what Alan Finlayson and James Martin have called "the symbolic ritual dimension of politics"?

Special attention should be paid to House of Commons, which is now firmly established as dominant house, and it should be emphasized that destruction is not something new, nor are arguments associated with it, although they have changed form.

Under ravages of past, Irish Parliamentary Party collapsed after war, with new Sinn Féin MPs refusing to take office. Labor never emulated efforts of Parnelli faction to obstruct all government affairs, although a minority of left showed some interest in idea.

However, he was more interested in parliamentary and constitutional reform than is commonly believed, in addition to expanding suffrage in 1918 and 1928 with election of first women MPs and influx>of a new wave of Labor is an event that could pose a potential threat to self-proclaimed defenders of parliamentary tradition.

Changes in post-war British Parliament: rhetorical culture of House of Commons

In fact, there were too few of these women to fundamentally change atmosphere in Palace of Westminster; surge in working-class representation has been a source of greater concern and controversy.

Class is in many ways basis upon which MPs present themselves, as seen in matters of dress, accent and manner, and House of Commons is sometimes scene of class tensions, if not class struggles. 18 Politics in dress and gesture, struggle for dominance of physical space within chamber, and creation of "image events" for wider public consumption are all aspects of growing rhetorical culture of House of Commons.

Furthermore, broader social concerns, such as desire of some Labor MPs to present themselves as champions of poor and unemployed, are reflected in rhetorical practices such as symbolic sabotage tactics, which in turn are criticized by Liberal and Conservative parties. condemnation.

At same time, major political parties have vehemently questioned each other's commitment to parliament and constitution in general, often accusing their opponents of extremist or authoritarian tendencies.

At same time, as has often been rightly pointed out, Stanley Baldwin has taken particular pains to recommend that Labor Party be properly inscribed in Constitution as party of responsible government, although he has also sometimes advised opposite.

Changes in post-war British Parliament: rhetorical culture of House of Commons

Of course, such fears, or so-called fears, are often expressed for tactical reasons, but they also have real elements, exacerbated by continuation of state methods in wartime countries that have experienced growth of apparently irresponsible bureaucracy and election of unelected businessmen to leadership positions, as well as rise of a radical mass trade union movement.

For example, during Lloyd George coalition, Independent (Asquith) Liberals claimed they were only party that truly believed in parliamentary method.

While leaders of coalition "openly despise House of Commons, preferring to act through irresponsible committees, controllers and local residents", Labor's commitment to "direct action" involves all its members in threats to idea of ​​"democratic collapse". Lloyd George's Conservatives and Liberals launched similar attacks on Labour's "direct action", accusing party of marginalizing Parliament in favor of union action.

By attacking liberal opportunism and conservative cynicism, Labor positions itself as champion of political integrity and "proper parliamentary action" in "the failure of political extremism" and in an era known for survival of parliamentary governments, it is surprising how contentious in fact is Parliament itself.

Changes in post-war British Parliament: rhetorical culture of House of Commons

The solution to this paradox lies in fact that most political actors, while denying parliament to others, do not deny parliament itself, but demand it. Labor's "parliamentary system" may not be as slavish as Ralph Miliband and other Marxist critics claim, but even "direct action" advocates tend to see it as an adjunct to, rather than a replacement for, parliamentary methods.

Making demands to Parliament means more than defending platform and putting forward candidates in elections, it means demonstrating "fitness to govern" through proper manners and appropriate policies, an area in which Labor was considered vulnerable Yes, Churchill bluntly accused Labor Party of being "unfit to govern ".

This has been tested in House of Commons, and questioning behavior of opponents is a way to question their overall legitimacy, but it does not mean that rules have been agreed or that it is only way to gain advantage of Duplicate Existing Code.

Behavior that Conservatives and Liberals consider subversive and inappropriate may be labeled by Labor as a sign of "male dynamism". is at forefront of debate and conducts it with strength and knowledge to revitalize Parliament."

Before examining implications of these statements, it is best to describe factors that determine rhetorical climate in House of Commons and how they relate to modern ideas of "correct" speech technique in House of Commons.

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