‘A Government is not supported a hundredth part so much by the constant, uniform, quiet prosperity of the country as by those damned spurts which Pitt used to have just in the nick of time.’ So wrote Brougham to Thomas Creevey in 1814. The fact that he could attribute the Tory hegemony in the 1790s to the same cause that was commonly given as the reason for the party’s success in the 1950s shows how deeply rooted in British politics is the idea that the Government is accountable for good and bad times. Popular acceptance of this idea means that the state of the economy has loomed large in the minds of all modern Prime Ministers as they pondered on the timing of a dissolution. And in the post-Keynesian era more than one government has been tempted to seek a favourable context for an election by expanding the economy, although dissolutions are more easily timed to coincide with expansion than the other way round.
KeywordsEconomic Context Party Lead American Political Science Review Economic Distress Governing Party
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