The December election, by contrast with January’s, followed an autumn of relative political calm. The campaign itself was not only shorter, but also quieter than its predecessor. How far this was evidence of public apathy was much debated. Sidney Low described the election as ‘the most apathetic within living memory’,1 but Sydney Brooks, another respected observer, noted that the ‘uncanny decorum of the election did not imply disinterest’.2 And in fact the turnout indicates that public interest remained high.3 One other contrast with January is important. While the first election remained throughout a debate on all the great issues of the day, in the second election the constitutional question achieved the primacy denied it in January.
KeywordsParty Leader Reform Scheme Plural Vote Unionist Press Home Rule
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- 83.Balfour Papers, Add. MS. 49777, ff. 79–81, Long to Balfour, 20 Jan 1911. This letter is quoted at length in Peter Fraser, ‘The Unionist Dbcle of 1911 and Balfour’s Retirement’, Journal of Modern History, xxxv (1963) 356.Google Scholar