history

Rab Butler: The Best Prime Minister We Never Had?

Lewis Baston  |  12 November 2015

George Osborne would probably not appreciate being compared to RA Butler, but reviewing a new biography of ‘Rab’ in current circumstances makes it inevitable. Cynical, clever, elusive, perhaps more cutting and abrasive than he meant to be, from being seen as a rightwinger Butler modernised and repositioned his party in opposition, then took over as …

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Fall of the Berlin Wall: would Poland suffer, again?

Mike Gapes MP  |  8 November 2014

On 9 November 1989 as senior international officer of the Labour party I was in Warsaw as a member of a delegation of about 10 members of the Socialist International Disarmament Advisory Committee led by Kalevi Sorsa, the former foreign minister and later prime minister of Finland. On 9 November we had a number of meetings …

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In conversation with … Tristram Hunt

James Beckles  |  30 October 2014

Progress’ thought-provoking series of debates with Labour’s shadow frontbench team continues. This time it was the turn of Tristram Hunt MP, shadow secretary of state for education, to be given the third degree by Times columnist and commentator David Aaronovitch. The discussion started with a good-humoured quip at those who have called for Progress to …

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Labour must understand how it won before

Paul Corrigan  |  10 October 2014

In the second general election of 1974 Harold Wilson won an overall majority of three. This was the last time a Labour leader who was not called Tony Blair won a majority in the House of Commons. Forty years … it is a long time. But it’s true that in the eight general elections that …

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Enoch at 100

Lewis Baston  |  9 October 2014

Enoch at 100 is not really, as its subtitle claims, ‘a re-evaluation of the life, politics and philosophy of Enoch Powell’, more a rather belated Festschrift. It is an overwhelmingly friendly assessment of its subject. While Tom Bower in his chapter on immigration does not shy away from the necessary criticisms of ‘Rivers of Blood’, …

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After the fall

James Bloodworth  |  25 September 2014

Twenty-five years after the Berlin Wall came down, James Bloodworth on why New Labour was the natural next chapter for the left Next month marks 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the liberation of eastern Europe from Soviet communism. The wall was erected in 1961, ostensibly to protect the population of …

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Brave new world

Anthony Painter  |  25 September 2014

New times demand Labour turns away from the social democratic settlement of the postwar world, says Anthony Painter As the second world war drew to a close, western societies began to face the future once again, freed from a terrifying two decades. Out of war and depression new possibilities emerged. Nuclear power, the very first …

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The ‘British value’ of supporting the underdog

Steve Ballinger  |  20 June 2014

A display of compassion on a scale unmatched in British history took place 100 years ago this year, when Britain opened its doors to a quarter of a million refugees from Belgium fleeing the German advance at the start of the first world war. A poll for Refugee Week, which this week (16-22 June) celebrates …

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The ‘What if?’ president

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP  |  15 November 2013

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of America’s 35th president. On 22 November 1963, John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, after only 34 months in office. His is the ‘Unfinished Life,’ in the words of his biographer Robert Dallek. His successor, Lyndon Johnson, built upon his work, and carried through …

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The Cat and Mouse Act

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP  |  9 April 2013

Nothing demonstrates the importance of the right to vote more than a consideration of the sacrifices of previous generations to obtain it. This month, April 2013, marks the 100-year anniversary of the passing of Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill Health) Act 1913. Passed by the Liberal government of 1905-15, it was extraordinarily illiberal. On 3 …

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