A Short History of the Labour Party


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The long-term reasons were complex.


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It was partly because the enfranchisement of the manual workers in and in tended to increase the electoral importance of 'labour' and its leaders. But this factor by itself would not have been enough, as we know from our observation of American politics. Why was 'labour' a more or less homogeneous force in British politics, at least at the turn of the century?

A Short History Of Labour's Stance On A Second Referendum | HuffPost UK

And why could it not adapt one or other of the existing parties to its purposes? The answer to the first of these additional questions takes us into the realm of the sociologist and economic historian; but it may be tentatively suggested that various social and economic changes were in the later nineteenth century leading in the direction of a greater solidarity of manual workers, partly by raising the standards of the unskilled workers to a level somewhat closer to that of the artisans, and partly by depressing, or.

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No cover image. Read preview. Brand'streatmentof the subjectextends from the 'sto the present. Interest andspace areheavily concentrated, however, onthefiftyyears following, on the sensible groundthat the periodof originsand early development has alreadybeenmorethan adequately treatedin the work of PhilipPoirier,HenryPelling,FrankBealey,and StewartReid.

A short history of Labour party funding scandals

In deciding to concern himself primarily withtheperiodof Labour's arrivalandfunctioning as a majorpolitical partyandwiththeeraof itsmajorcontributions to the making of mid-twentieth-century Britain,Brandhasentereda fieldalreadyoccupied by G. Professor Brandthinks Cole's work"stillthe mostcomplete survey" downto the establishment of the Attlee government. Pelling's bookis,of course, a verybriefreview. Professor Brand's account of theLabour party's history in thelasthalfcentury is that of a thoroughly sympathetic observer. He seesit as a constitutionalist, middle-of-the-road partywhichhadfar moretrouble with theLeft thanwith the Rightin British politics.


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  • Whilehavinga class basein the social outcome of the Industrial Revolution it hasneverbeena class partyor even,strictly speaking, therepresentative of a class interest. It has,he emphasizes, remained steadfastly loyaltoparliamentary democracy andto thetraditions of British publiclife while working towardthegoalof a classless society in whichit discerned the highest welfareof all. Alongthelinesof these general ideasBrandhaswrittena narrative of the party'shistorywhichwill proveof considerable interestand useto all students of the subject andindeed of British political history in the twentieth century aswell.

    Two particular emphases in the book-andtwo shortcomingsmusthowever be noted. These will havea considerable bearing on the service thebook canbeexpected toperform forstudents andforthegeneral reader alike.

    A Short History Of Labour's Stance On A Second Referendum

    In thecase of the special emphases it mustbe notedthat twothemes standout 9. TheseareforeignpolicyandLabour's relationswith theCommunist movement-and it isherethatthe dependence of the book onBranifs previously published workismost clearly evident. Onefinds on theother hand-and thisappears tobethemost obvious shortcoming of thebook -all too little attention given tothedomestic policy and performance oftheparty and still lessto the party'sinternaldevelopment, and to suchthingsas the evolution of organization andstructure, thetugandpullof rivalforces, andthe processes bywhich policy wasformulated.

    Wehaveinstead therecord of a party responding toexternal stimuli: there isalltoolittleonthereacting organism itself.

    A second shortcoming is the complete absence of reflection and comment. One wouldhavethought that aftera lifetimeof studydevoted to the Labourparty and its worksProfessor Brandwouldhavesomegeneralobservations to offer; thathewouldfeelthathe isnowin a position to try to generalize a little about theparty's contribution to British publiclife;thathewouldbewillingto tellus, at theendandin thelongrun,howit all strikes himandhowhewouldcharacterizeit. Wilkstoreviewandtobringintosome kindof manageable orderthecontticting ideas engendered by thegreatpolitical debates of theperiodfromapproximately to In doingsohehasdemonstrated theimportance ofthehistory ofideas fora full understanding ofpolitical institutions andevents, andhasincidentally thrownmuchlightontheorigins of modem political assumptions.

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    A Short History of the Labour Party A Short History of the Labour Party
    A Short History of the Labour Party A Short History of the Labour Party
    A Short History of the Labour Party A Short History of the Labour Party

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