A Short History of the Labour Party by Henry Pelling (auth.)

By Henry Pelling (auth.)

This textual content offers an introductory account of the Labour occasion from its beginning. It not just covers the interval as much as and together with the election of Neil Kinnock because the chief of the Labour occasion but additionally concentrates at the difficulties of the parliamentary leadership.

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A Short History of the Labour Party There is no doubt that many of the difficulties of the party in this period derived from its close association with the Liberals in the 1906 election. Although the electoral agreement had paid immediate dividends, there were longterm liabilities for the Labour Party which perhaps only Herbert Gladstone had fully appreciated. A party which had set out to represent a whole social class had become identified with the sectional interests of Liberalism - with Free Trade, Nonconformity, and Home Rule.

A Council of Action was set up after the London Dockers, encouraged by their leader Ernest Bevin, had taken the initiative in refusing to load a ship called the Jolly George until munitions on board, which were destined for Poland, had been removed. There is more than a 47 A Short History of the Labour Party possibility that this boycott and the threat of further action played a major part in altering Lloyd George's policy and so preventing further British intervention. But it was, of course, unconstitutional action which by-passed Parliament and did nothing to enhance the credit of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Hour Parry chairmanship of the parliamentary party and it was clear that he could not do justice both to this post and to his extraparliamentary responsibilities. He seems to have genuinely wanted the chairmanship, because of a feeling that he alone could provide the necessary leadership (and leadership, of course, was something rather more than earlier chairmen had provided). In 1g1 o he wrote to Hardie : 'I do not care a dump about the chairmanship, but I do want the party to be led. . Let it be led to the devil if you like, but do not let it be the nerveless thing of the past session'.

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