The history of the Labour Party

Koerner, Steve
December 1994
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Winter94, Vol. 59 Issue 3, p11
Academic Journal
The article presents information on the British Labour Party. After four consecutive electoral defeats, this is as good a time as any for a reappraisal not only of the history of the Labour Party, but the entire democratic left. This belief was reflected in the thirteen papers delivered at this conference, co-sponsored by Warwick University's Centre for the Study of Social History and the Society for the Study of Labour History, which was held on 20-21 April 1994. A paper on "The Labour Party and 1918" focused on the party's interpretation of the concept of social ownership. The author of the paper followed the changes of interpretation of this aspect of policy from the pre-1914 era to the end of the Great War. The 1918 election was a breakthrough for the Labour Party which was followed by the introduction of a constitution that included the highly controversial Clause Four. This has usually been understood to mean a commitment to the socialisation of the economy. However, the interpretation of the term socialisation has been subject to much debate. Many understand it to mean less radical change than simply a' means of regulating and refashioning capitalism. Clause Four was drafted in a way to give the party a more radical intent. It was to influence internal debate through to the 1920's and for many years thereafter.


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