Key points – SUFFRAGETTES 1903-18 CAUSES Women did not have equal rights and opportunities with men. Without the right to vote they could not bring about change LEADERS Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia TACTICS Direct action including violence to property, protests, disruption and personal risk Chaining themselves to railings, firebombing, breaking windows, hunger strikes in prison Posters, newspapers, meetings, marches all aimed at getting as much publicity as possible AUTHORITIES’ RESPONSE The Prime Minister was Herbert Asquith Heavy-handed and violent police, arrests, force feeding The ‘Cat and Mouse Act’ OUTCOME After the First World War, in 1918 women over 30 got the vote and ten years later all women could vote.
Key points – GENERAL STRIKE 1926 CAUSES The fall in demand for coal Mine owners demanded that miners worked longer hours for less pay The TUC – representing all workers – voted to support the miners. The Samuel Commission came down on the side of the owners. LEADERS AJ Cook was the leader of the miners. The TUC was led by Walter Citrine, Jimmy Thomas and Ernest Bevin TACTICS Workers in all main industries refused to work, causing a shutdown of the docks, newspapers and and transport services. Pickets tried to prevent lorries, trains and buses. The strikers’ newspaper was the BritishWorker. Workers formed their own trades councils and self defence committees. AUTHORITIES’ RESPONSE The Prime Minister was Stanley Baldwin. He had stockpiled coal. Every region was organised with army bases and soldiers protecting lorries bringing supplies. OMS volunteers drove vehicles and helped with services. The government’s newspaper was the British Gazette. The BBC only allowed the government side to speak on the radio. The media accused the TUC of wanting a revolution. OUTCOME Although the strike was growing, after 8 days the TUC leaders gave in and ended the strike. The miners carried on but in the end they had to give in.
Key points – MINERS’ STRIKE 1984-85 CAUSES The Government announced plans to close down 20 coal mines, losing 20,000 jobs. LEADERS The leader of the NUM was Arthur Scargill. TACTICS Strikes supported by the strong communities in the mining villages. Mass pickets of electricity power stations to try and stop coal getting to them. Meetings, rallies, benefit concerts etc to get support from other trades unionists and community groups. Soup kitchens etc to support strikers’ families. Women Against Pit Closures – solidarity work by women in mining communities. Media reports showed police brutality. AUTHORITIES’ RESPONSE The Prime Minister was Margaret Thatcher. She wanted to break the NUM and the trades union movement. She appointed Ian McGregor to head the National Coal Board. He had a reputation for fighting trades unions. Power stations were kept going . The miners were divided: some refused to strike and a breakaway union was formed in Nottinghamshire. The government used the police against mass pickets. The courts were used to confiscate the NUM’s funds. Media reports showed violence by the pickets. Hardship and hunger caused many striking miners to go back to work. Other unions and the TUC did not support the strike. OUTCOME After 11 months the strike ended without success and the miners went back to work. Over the next ten years most coal mines in Britain were closed down.
Key points – POLL TAX PROTESTS 1989-90 CAUSES The government replaced rates (paid according to house value) with a community charge (which involved rich and poor paying the same amount). This new tax was very unpopular and was nicknamed the Poll Tax. LEADERS No real leaders, but the All-Britain Anti Poll Tax Federation was led by Tommy Sullivan from Scotland. TACTICS Resistance in 4 main ways: • non-registration • non-payment • non-implementation • non-collection In the end over 18 million people refused to pay the tax and many of them refused to pay the fines imposed by the courts. Protests outside council offices to try to stop local councils setting the tax. APTUs (Anti Poll Tax Unions) were set up all over the country. There was a big protest march ending at Trafalgar Square on 31 March 1990 which developed into a battle between police and protesters and a riot in central London. AUTHORITIES’ RESPONSE The Prime Minister was Margaret Thatcher. The government tried to use the courts and bailiffs to get people to pay. Policing of the Trafalgar Square protest was very heavy handed. As the movement came from the grassroots and had no real leaders it was hard for the government to control. So many people were refusing to pay that they could not arrest everyone. OUTCOME Leaders of the Conservative Party realised they had to abandon the Poll Tax and they could not win the next election with Thatcher leading them. She was forced out of leadership by her own ministers and replaced by John Major. The government ended the Poll Tax and replaced it with Council Tax. Millions of people never did pay the tax.