This study is concerned with the ‘Old’ Labour right at a critical juncture of social democratic and Labour politics. It attempts to explain the complex transition from so-called ‘Old Right’ to ‘New Right’ or ‘New Labour’, and locates at least some of the roots of the latter in the complexity, tensions and fragmentation of the former during the ‘lean’ years of social democracy in the 1970s. The analysis addresses both the short- and long-term implications of the emerging ideological, organisational and political complexity and divisions of the parliamentary Labour right and Labour revisionism, previously concealed within the loosely adhesive post-war framework of Keynesian reformist social democracy, which have been neglected factors in explanations of Labour's subsequent shift leftwards, the longer-term gestation of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the evolution of ‘New’ Labour. It establishes the extent to which ‘New’ Labour is a legatee of at least some elements of the disparate and discordant Labour right and tensions of social democratic revisionism in the 1970s. In so doing, the analysis advances our understanding of a key moment in the development of social democracy and the making of the contemporary British Labour Party. The book represents a significant departure in analyses and explanations of both the problems and demise of post-war social democracy and decline of ‘Old’ Labour and the origins and roots of ‘New’ Labour.
Paradoxes of Internationalization deals with British and German trade union responses to the internationalization of corporate structures and strategies at Ford and General Motors between the late 1960s and the early twenty-first century. Based on research in more than a dozen archives in Britain, Germany and the United States, the book is unique in its attempt to bridge historical and contemporary approaches to the study of trade union politics in multinational firms. Conceptually, Paradoxes of Internationalization draws not only on the mainstream industrial relations literature but also on scholarship in comparative and international political economy, transnational history and nationalism studies. The book points to the paradoxical effects of internationalization processes. First, it demonstrates how internationalization reinforced trade unions’ national identities and allegiances. Second, the book highlights that internationalization made domestic trade union practices more similar in some respects, while it simultaneously contributed to the re-creation of diversity between and within the two countries. Third, the book shows that investment competition was paradoxically the most important precondition for the emergence of cross-border cooperation initiatives although the interest-driven nature of these initiatives also limited their scope.
This is a definitive history of the Northern Ireland Labour Party (NILP), a unique political force that drew its support from Protestants and Catholics and became electorally viable despite deep-seated ethnic, religious and national divisions. Formed in 1924 and disbanded in 1987, it succeeded in returning several of its members to the locally based Northern Ireland parliament in 1925–29 and 1958–72, and polled some 100,000 votes in the 1964 and 1970 British general elections. Despite its political successes, the NILP's significance has been downplayed by historians, partly because of the lack of empirical evidence and partly to reinforce the simplistic view of Northern Ireland as the site of the most protracted sectarian conflict in modern Europe. The book brings together archival sources and the oral testimonies of the NILP's former members to explain the enigma of an extraordinary political party operating in extraordinary circumstances. It situates the NILP's successes and failures in a broad historical framework, providing the reader with a balanced account of twentieth-century Northern Irish political history.
This book is an attempt to take stock of how some of the British Labour Party's leading interpreters have analysed their subject, deriving as they do from contrasting political, theoretical, disciplinary and methodological backgrounds. It explores their often-hidden assumptions and subjects them to critical evaluation. The book outlines five strategies such as materialist; ideational; electoral; institutional; and synthetic strategies. Materialist, ideational and electoral explanatory strategies account for Labour's ideological trajectory in factors exogenous to the party. The 'new political history' is useful in understanding Labour within a less reductive framework than either the 'high' or 'from below' approaches and in more novel terms than the Left-Right positions adopted within Labour. The book assesses the contribution made to analysis of the Labour Party and labour history by thinkers of the British New Left. New Left critiques of labourism in fact represented and continued a strand of Marxist thinking on the party that can be traced back to its inception. If Ralph Miliband's role in relation to 'Bennism' is considered in comparison to his earlier attitudes, some striking points emerge about the interaction between the analytical and subjective aspects in his interpretive framework. Miliband tried to suggest that the downfall of communism was advantageous for the Left, given the extent to which the Soviet regimes had long embarrassed Western socialists such as himself. The Nairn-Anderson theses represented an ambitious attempt to pioneer a distinctive analysis of British capitalist development, its state, society and class structure.
This book considers the most electorally successful political party in Spain, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) which was in government for two of the three decades since it won office under Felipe González in 1982. Providing rich historical background, the book's main focus is on the period since General Franco's death in 1975 and charts Spain's modernisation under the PSOE, with a particular focus on the role played by European integration in this process. Covering events including the 2011 general election, the book is one of the most up-to-date works available in English and will be of great interest to academics, undergraduate and postgraduate students in the field of Spanish and European studies.
This is a major re-evaluation of the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike, which was a central event in Britain's recent economic, industrial and political history, and the first book to show the pivotal and distinctive nature of the strike in Scotland. The book's particular strengths address the limits of current understanding of the meaning and character of the strike. It: • focuses on colliery-and community-level factors in shaping and sustaining the strike, which tends to be understood in overly narrow high political terms; • examines Scottish developments, which were central to the outbreak and longevity of the strike against closures; • demonstrates that the strike was a popular and socially-embedded phenomenon, with limited connection to the ‘Scargill versus Thatcher’ dispute of historical legend and much political literature; • explores the moral economy of the coalfields, and how this shaped attitudes to coal closures and the strike • provides immediate and highly engaging history from below perspectives on society and politics in the 1980s, using interviews with strike participants.
This book demonstrates how the personal became political in post-war Britain, and argues that attention to gay activism can help us to rethink fundamentally the nature of post-war politics. While the Left were fighting among themselves and the reformists were struggling with the limits of law reform, gay men started organising for themselves, first individually within existing organisations and later rejecting formal political structures altogether. Gay activists intersected with Trotskyism, Stalinism, the New Left, feminism and youth movements. As the slogan of the Gay Liberation Front proclaimed, ‘Come out, come together and change the world’. Culture, performance and identity took over from economics and class struggle, as gay men worked to change the world through the politics of sexuality. Throughout the post-war years, the new cult of the teenager in the 1950s, CND and the counter-culture of the 1960s, gay liberation, feminism, the Punk movement and the miners' strike of 1984 all helped to build a politics of identity. When AIDS and Thatcherism impacted on gay men's lives in the 1980s, gay politics came into its own. There is an assumption among many of today's politicians that young people are apathetic and disengaged. This book argues that these politicians are looking in the wrong place. People now feel that they can impact the world through the way in which they live, shop, have sex and organise their private lives. The book shows that gay men and their politics have been central to this change in the post-war world.
The demand for equality was at the heart of the politics of the Left in the twentieth century, but what did theorists and politicians on the British Left mean when they said they were committed to ‘equality’? How did they argue for a more egalitarian society? Which policies did they think could best advance their egalitarian ideals? This book provides comprehensive answers to these questions. It charts debates about equality from the progressive liberalism and socialism of the early twentieth century to the arrival of the New Left and revisionist social democracy in the 1950s. Along the way, the book examines and reassesses the egalitarian political thought of many significant figures in the history of the British Left, including L. T. Hobhouse, R. H. Tawney and Anthony Crosland. It demonstrates that the British Left has historically been distinguished from its ideological competitors on the centre and the right by a commitment to a demanding form of economic egalitarianism. The book shows that this egalitarianism has come to be neglected or caricatured by politicians and scholars alike, and is more surprising and sophisticated than is often imagined.
Social policy is not a cost, but a productive investment, wrote the Swedish social democratic economist Gunnar Myrdal in 1932, the year the Swedish social democrats (SAP) gained electoral power. This notion of social policy as a productive investment and a prerequisite for economic growth became a core feature in the ideology of Swedish social democracy, and a central component of the universalism of the Swedish welfare state. However, as the SAP embarked on its Third Way in 1981, this outlook on social policy as a productive investment was replaced by the identification of social policy as a cost and a burden for growth. This book discusses the components of this ideological turnaround from Swedish social democracy's post war notion of a strong society, to its notion of a Third Way in the early 1980s. It contributes to the history of Swedish social democracy and recent developments in the Swedish welfare state, and also sheds light on contemporary social policy debates.