'biggest shake-up since 1832'

'The biggest shake up since 1832'. No, no and thrice no. As any historian of reform will tell you, the first reform acts [yes, there was a separate act for Scotland], were far from 'great'. See my summary of the reform crisis in a previous post below. 
  1. 1832 and democracy should not be mentioned in the same sentence, if not paragraph.
  2. 1832 changed very little. Representation was still based on the principle of property. the £10 householder franchise was a compromise [MPs originally wanted it to be £20], and actually defranchised the working classes in some large boroughs like Westminster, Preston, and Liverpool, which had previously had 'potwalloper' franchises or similar.
  3. the middle classes, though some of them got the vote, were too busy in their exchanges and factories to want to become MPs. They went on to 'single issue' politics in the Anti-Corn Law League, and bitterly opposed the Chartists [see the rants in the Manchester Guardian, that bastion of bourgeois liberalism, against the working classes].
  4. see these responses on the History and Policy website.

Hearing of the chaos in Thailand, with 'red shirts' and 'barricades' also puts this into focus too. 


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