This chapter explores the difficulty of separating the working class from the trade unions; the party therefore accepted (albeit reluctantly) the unions’ existence whilst criticising the unions’ supposed vulnerability to control by politically motivated groups who usurped the unions’ for their own political purposes. An important figure in the development of Conservatism’s strategy was Disraeli, whose government passed legislation for the unions’ development. Many Conservatives feared industrialisation would, via the growth of democracy, culminate in socialism and saw unions as part of this trend. The response was to accord the unions a degree of legal privilege that was intended to be a settlement of the union question. Industrial conflict, however, re-emerged during the 1890s and in the years before 1914 there was an upsurge in industrial unrest that suggested a transformation of politics. This was reflected in what many Conservatives saw as granting excessive legal privileges to unions that now displayed a far higher degree of industrial and political activism, reflected in the formation of the Labour Party. The party, however, failed to develop a coherent response to the rise of the organised working class.
The fall of Neville Chamberlain and the emergence of the Churchill coalition had crucial consequences for the party’s relationship with the unions. The shift under the Coalition to ‘a people’s war’, symbolised by the Labour Party’s presence and particularly by Ernest Bevin’s role at the Ministry of Labour and National Service, produced a significant increase in the influence and political weight of the organised working class. Conservatives recognised this, but proved unable to develop an effective response, although, as prime minister, Churchill was able to hold the line in a couple of cases to the satisfaction of the party. The Conservative critique of the unions underwent little significant change, but the reappearance of industrial conflict in 1944, changes in public policy that favoured the working class and, of course, electoral defeat in 1945 stimulated grave disquiet.
Despite the 1926 General Strike the party under Stanley Baldwin maintained and expanded the Government’s relationship with the unions. Baldwin’s amplification of One Nation politics and endorsement of voluntarism necessitated holding Conservative hostility to the unions in check. Conservatives were in government for most of the inter-war period, during which the unions’ reputation shifted from a quasi-revolutionary threat to a bulwark of the status quo. A long-term effect of the General Strike was to confirm the growing relationship between the State and the TUC, and reinforced the party leadership’s determination to keep ‘politics’ out of industrial relations. Rearmament after 1934 put a strain on this relationship, as the TUC sought to expand its role, whilst the Chamberlain Government sought to limit its influence in order to avoid a political threat to the status quo.
The relationship between the Conservative Party and the organised working class is fundamental to the making of modern British politics. Although always a minority, the organised working class was perceived by Conservatives as a challenge, a threat and an opportunity. The book’s fundamental question is ‘why throughout its history was the Conservative Party so accommodating towards the organised working class?’ And why in the space of a relatively few years did it abandon this heritage? For much of the party’s history its leaders calculated they had more to gain from the unions’ political inclusion, but during the 1980s Conservative governments marginalised the organised working class to a degree that previously would have been thought politically disastrous for the party. This shift altered British politics profoundly.
This chapter analyses the Pan-African career of Nigerian scholar-technocrat, Adebayo Adedeji, who headed the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) between 1975 and 1991. The author also assesses his efforts at promoting economic development and regional integration across Africa, as well as his intellectual contributions to these two fields.
This chapter assesses the thinking of Kenyan political scientist, Ali Mazrui, focusing particularly on his idea of “The Triple Heritage” (Africa’s indigenous, Western, and Islamic legacies) and the post-colonial “African Condition” in a perpetual quest for a self-generated development and security paradigm.
This chapter assesses the philosophical thoughts of Bissau Guinean revolutionary, Amilcar Cabral, who was greatly influenced by Fanon. Rabaka analyses Cabral’s critical theories of revolutionary decolonization and revolutionary re-Africanization.
This chapter examines the contributions of Amy Ashwood Garvey – the wife of Marcus Garvey – to the Universal Negro Improvement and Conservation Association and African Communities Imperial League; her feminist activism; and her travels to Africa and the Caribbean.
This chapter examines one of the early champions of African democracy: the only black Nobel prize winner in economics, St. Lucia’s Fabian intellectual, William Arthur Lewis. She assesses Lewis’s economic theories, his role as the economic adviser to Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, and his calls for multi-party democracy in Africa’s diverse states.
This chapter investigates how Jamaican musician, Bob Marley, used reggae – inspired by Marcus Garvey’s Pan-Africanism – as a weapon for preaching a liberation gospel advocating the decolonization of Southern Africa and the unity of Africa and its Diaspora.