By Henry Pelling (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0333386922

ISBN-13: 9780333386927

ISBN-10: 1349178411

ISBN-13: 9781349178414

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It came to be recognised that the only way to bring effective joint industrial pressure to bear was to have a unified command of the unions like the General Staff of an army. , which had been little more than an agency for lobbying the older political parties at Westminster, was transformed into a General Council with greater powers to co-ordinate policy - though not, in the last resort, to order the unions about unless they conceded emergency powers to it. Henceforth the General Council assumed an im- 48 Henderson's Party: War and Reconstruction (1914-22) portant political as well as industrial role, building up a headquarters staff which rivalled that of the Labour Party; and it was noteworthy that the ablest union leaders preferred to serve on the General Council rather than to go into what must have seemed the comparative backwater of parliamentary politics.

Even more striking, however, was the growth of the party's local organisations. By 1915, no less than eighty-five trades councils were affiliated, and there were also some seventy-three local Labour Parties. There was some overlapping of political function between local Labour Parties and trades councils, and in a few towns 30 A Pressure-group under Pressure (1906-14) both were recorded as being affiliated to the national Labour Party. But in 1906 there had been only eightythree of both types of organisation put together.

Maddox, cited above, provides valuable analysis of policy formation within the party. The biographiesKeir Hardie by Morgan and Ramsay MacDonald by Marquand (see p. 16) are again of value. For the impact of the law see Henry Pelling, 'The Politics of the Osborne Judgment', HistoricalJournal, 25 (1982). F. P. see C. Tsuzuki, H. M. Hyndman and British Socialism (1961); for Fabianism, see A. M. MacBriar, Fabian Socialism and English Politics, 1884-1918 (Cambridge, 1962 ). 34 CHAPTER III Henderson) s Party: War and Reconstruction (19 1 4- 22) ALTHOUGH the Labour Party had by no means ignored questions offoreign policy before July 1914, it was only with the outbreak of war that they became of paramount importance.

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


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