Ramsay Macdonald

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About Ramsay Macdonald

Ramsay Macdonald

RAMSAY MACDONALD FRS d1937. British statesman who was the first Labour Party Prime Minister, leading Labour governments in 1924 / 1929-31 and having been expelled from the party he helped to found a National Government between 1931-35. Historians credit him (along with Keir Hardie and Arthur Henderson) as one of the three principal founders of the Labour Party. His speeches, pamphlets and books made him an important theoretician, but he played an even more important role as Leader of The Labour Party. He entered Parliament in 1906 and was the Chairman of the Labour MPs from 1911 to 1914. He was widely denounced for his opposition to the First World War and he lost his seat in 1918. The antiwar mood of the 1920s led to his rehabilitation in the 1920s and he returned to Parliament in 1922 as his party replaced the Liberal Party as the second-largest party. The first Labour government (formed with Liberal support in 1924) lasted only nine months, but demonstrated that the Labour Party was sufficiently competent to run a government. He was widely applauded for his moderation and his support of the League of Nations, but Labour was defeated at the 1924 General Election. Labour returned to power in 1929, but was soon overwhelmed by the crisis of the Great Depression, in which the Labour government was split by demands for public spending cuts to preserve the gold standard. In 1931, he formed a National Government in which only two of his Labour colleagues agreed to serve with his majority coming from the Conservatives. He abandoned the gold standard and called a general election in 1931, seeking a "doctor's mandate" to do whatever was necessary to fix the economy. His National coalition won an overwhelming landslide and the Labour Party was reduced to a rump of around 50 seats in the House of Commons. Expelled from the Labour Party, he remained Prime Minister of the National Government from 1931 to 1935 ; by this time he felt that the internal cohesion of the British Empire, a protective tariff and an independent British defence programme would be the wisest policy. Nevertheless budget pressures and a strong popular pacifist sentiment, forced a reduction in the military and naval budgets. His health rapidly deteriorated and he became increasingly ineffective as a leader. He stood down as Prime Minister in 1935, losing his seat and then returning for a different constituency. He died on board the liner MV Reina aged 71 on November 9th 1937.



Ramsay Macdonald

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A lovely original 1929 RMS Berengaria embossed card, clearly signed & dated in ink by both Ramsay Macdonald and his daughter Ishbel 28th September 1929.


One of a fine collection of original circa 1920-30s Cunard RMS Berengaria signed cards obtained by a Miss Brain who was a stewardess on board this famous cruise-liner. RMS Berengaria was originally named the SS Impersonator (built for the Hamburg America Line) and first launched in 1912. At the time of her completion (in June 1913) she was the largest passenger ship in the world, surpassing the RMS Olympic and her sister ship RMS Titanic by 24ft. During World War 1, she remained in port in Hamburg ; after the war she was briefly commissioned by the US Navy as a troop transport ship (USS Imperator). Following her US Navy Service, her name was changed to "RMS Berengaria" and she was handed over to Britain's Cunard Line as part of war reparations. She became their flagship cruise-liner between 1919-1934. She was retired in 1938 and later sold to Sir John Jarvis to be broken up and scrapped on the Tyne between 1939-1946. AFTAL Dealer No13 and UACC RD Memorabilia UK COA


11x9cm Sized Embossed Card


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