Re-appraising the origins of the‘consensus-forming strategy’, 1945–58
in A history of the Northern Ireland Labour Party
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An extension of the British social welfare state to Northern Ireland and the tackling of acute unemployment were huge undertakings for the Unionist administration. The Anti-Partition League of Ireland (APL) was ‘inspired by hopes of major political changes in the post-war world and in particular by the election to power of the Labour Party’. Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP) agitation on unemployment failed to reach the kind of tempo it would display in 1956–58. By 1957–58, the storm that had been brewing finally broke, leaving 10% of the province's workforce unemployed. The NILP was well disposed to offer its guidance and support to those laid-off workers. 1953 may have been the year that witnessed the first tentative steps to square NILP policies. Protestant workers had clearly suffered economic impoverishment at the hands of an ‘inept’ Unionist regime.

A history of the Northern Ireland Labour Party

Democratic socialism and sectarianism

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