Labourpolitics in London
The “Woolwich Pioneer” comes to utter the voice of the Labour Movement
of Woolwich. To fulfill its end it must not be the utterance of a single editor,
or of a group of journalists, earning their living by expressing their own
thoughts or exploiting their own personality. It must be the voice of all in
Woolwich who work, all who hope, all who care for the ideals which have
given birth to labour movement after movement in the past and the Labour
Representation movement of to-day. (Woolwich Pioneer, 1904)1
The renewal of radicalism maps the trajectory of Labour politics from its origins in a ‘class-conscious’ radical tradition through to its emergence as a major electoral force in the 1920s. During the 1880s and 1890s, working-class radicals in the East Midlands, East Anglia and the South West embraced the collectivist spirit of the times and built local labour parties that eventually became local branches of the national Labour Party. But even as they established new organisations, ‘labour’ activists – as they came to be known – remained committed to the cultural assumptions, discursive practices and ideological beliefs of their political predecessors. Focusing on largely neglected areas in provincial England, this book offers a new narrative of continuity that challenges conventional understandings of English political history. By applying the conceptual analysis of ideologies to the world of local politics, it identifies, for the first time, the conceptual building blocks of radical and labourist ideologies, suggesting that both deserve to be treated separately from liberalism and socialism. It also offers fresh perspectives on the Labour Party’s contribution to the ‘nationalisation’ of political culture; the survival of restrictive assumptions about gender, place, work, nationality and race in the face of political and economic change; and the process through which political identities and ideologies were forged at a local level.
Explanations of working-class politics in Australia and Britain have traditionally been heavily rooted in domestic 'bread and butter', socio-economic factors, including the much-debated issue of social class. 'Traditional' and 'revisionist' accounts have greatly advanced our knowledge and understanding of labour movements in general and labour politics in particular. This book offers a pathbreaking comparative and trans-national study of the neglected influences of nation, empire and race. The study is about the development and electoral fortunes of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the British Labour Party (BLP) from their formative years of the 1900s to the elections of 2010. Based upon extensive primary and secondary source-based research in Britain and Australia over several years, the book makes a new and original contribution to the fields of labour, imperial and 'British world' history. It offers the challenging conclusion that the forces of nation, empire and race exerted much greater influence upon Labour politics in both countries than suggested by 'traditionalists' and 'revisionists' alike. Labour sought a more democratic, open and just society, but, unlike the ALP, it was not a serious contender for political and social power. In both countries, the importance attached to the politics of loyalism is partly related to questions of place and space. In both Australia and Britain the essential strength of the emergent Labour parties was rooted in the trade unions. The book also presents three core arguments concerning the influences of nation, empire, race and class upon Labour's electoral performance.
This book analyses the oratorical and rhetorical techniques of twelve leading orators who have affected the evolution of Labour Party politics in the post-war period, and demonstrates the important role of oratory. The twelve leading orators are Aneurin Bevan, Hugh Gaitskell, Tony Benn, Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, Barbara Castle, Michael Foot, Neil Kinnock, John Smith, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband. The book considers how the politician in question used their oratorical skills in relation to three key audiences: the Parliamentary Party; the wider party membership; and the electorate. These audiences relate to three important oratorical arenas, namely Parliament; party conference; public and media engagement (the electoral arena). The book assesses how political rhetoric has been deployed in an effort to advance competing ideological positions within the party, and the role of oratory in communicating Labour's ideology to a wider audience. It argues that oratory remains a significant feature of Labour politics in Britain, and analyses how it has changed over time and in different contexts. A small (but growing) number of scholars have energised the study of rhetoric in British politics, and brought it more mainstream attention in the discipline. The academic study of the art of oratory has received relatively little attention from scholars interested in British politics.
This book reflects upon the wide range of Chris Wrigley's research and publications in the study of the various aspects of British labour history. It presents a set of themes revolving around the British labour movement and the lives of those connected with it. The book begins with a discussion on biography in the shape of George Howell's work on trade unions and presents Herbert Gladstone's view that the unions emerged from the medieval workers guilds. Chris was also interested in political figures connected with progressivism and the labour movement, which is reflected in the examination of Gladstone's role in the Liberal Party. There is an examination of the Co-operative Party in the north-east of England, the 1911 National Insurance Act, and the relationship between the unions and the Labour Party. The inter-war British labour politics is covered by the disaffiliation of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) from the Labour Party and by a study of the Progressive League. British and German working class lives are compared in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Female trade unionism is dealt with a focus on Association of Women Clerks and Secretaries (AWCS). The contribution of the Lansburys is brought by an essay on the role of the family members in working-class politics, including women's enfranchisement. The book also deals with the attempt by the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) to engage with punk music, and ends with a discussion on the theme of Labour disunity.
Analysing oratory in Labourpolitics
Andrew S. Crines and Richard Hayton
The British Labour Party has been blessed – or perhaps, in some cases cursed – by
a succession of commanding orators, many of whom have used the power of their
speech to become highly influential figures within the movement. More broadly
‘oratory has long been a highly prized political skill, regarded as an almost essential prerequisite for political advancement in modern liberal democracies’ (Leach,
2000: 1). Since its foundation Labour has been committed to
The key argument presented in this book is that the
neglected forces of nation, empire and race exerted a far more profound influence upon Labourpolitics in Britain and Australia between 1900 and 2010 than is suggested in the relevant
literature. To be sure, this influence varied in time and place and was generally more
pronounced in the Australian than the British case. This was mainly because the imprint of
Britain, as the ruling imperial power and ‘mother country’, upon Australia and
its labour movement was
activists positioned their party as the rightful heir to a working-class radical tradition whose members had been at the forefront of campaigns for political and social reform in the mid- to late nineteenth century. Having emerged from this political tradition, Labour, it was argued, was best placed to put its historic ideals into effect.
This book contends that the emergence of labourpolitics in towns and cities across the East Midlands, East Anglia and the South West of England represented the renewal of the working-class radical tradition. In the mid- to late
problems of identity, relevance and mission,
the Labour parties in Britain and Australia (and elsewhere) have
been seeking new ways to engage with stakeholders and the wider
public, with a renewed interest in democratic revitalisation – Labour’s
search for democratic renewal is inherently bound up with its need to
secure wider legitimacy. This book seeks to examine aspects of this
democratic renewal agenda and its prospects for the revitalisation of
Arguably, the best-publicised variant of British Labour’s attempt to
find meaning in current neoliberal
descriptive and fairly positive account, whereas Nairn’s analysis of Labourpolitics is a blunt and often scornful evaluation of its weaknesses.
Nairn’s emphasis on the exceptional character of British reformism provides the
basis for a discussion of a feature of Labour’s politics that has been often overlooked by academics: the party’s insularity. To be sure, commentators have noted
the party’s isolation – in terms of ideological contacts and organisational communications – from other parties of the Left