Hugh Gaitskell

Avoid a sectarian slugfest

Editorial  |  19 September 2017

Labour conference could be about policy, not procedure In his book, The Road to Brighton Pier, the political writer Leslie Hunter describes the atmosphere inside a Labour party languishing in opposition, and riven with factional animosity, in the months leading up to the party conference in Brighton: ‘Except on the most formal occasions there was no social …

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‘Never more relevant’

Conor Pope and Richard Angell  |  1 December 2016

Rachel Reeves tells Richard Angell and Conor Pope the subject of her book, Alice Bacon, would have a clear message for today’s moderates The Labour party is full of people whose stories never get heard. Who put in the hours, sit in the rooms where decisions are made and make sure that change happens. They make …

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Terror of the Trotskyites

Rachel Reeves MP  |  1 December 2016

Exclusive extracts from Rachel Reeves’ book on the first woman MP for Leeds reveal Alice Bacon as a fiercely loyal reformist Alice [Bacon], a young woman, a miner’s daughter and teacher, was elected as a member of parliament at the age of 35. The first female MP in Leeds, the first (with Muriel Nichol), in fact, …

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Labour must own the future

Callum Anderson  |  24 October 2016

The last 18 months have seen the United Kingdom’s political kaleidoscope vigorously shaken. Progressives have been the primary casualty of this tectonic shift in our political landscape. Indeed, the dual-effect of Jeremy Corbyn’s comprehensive re-election as Labour leader, as well as the UK’s vote to leave the European Union has resulted in many asking themselves the …

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Labour’s Brexit brigade should not rewrite history

Greg Rosen  |  10 February 2016

One of the most famous ‘Eurosceptic’ speeches in the last century was delivered by Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell at Labour’s annual conference in October 1962, where he declared that joining the then ‘European Community’ would ‘mean the end of Britain as an independent nation-state … It means the end of a thousand years of history …

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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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‘Political action is both necessary and worthwhile’

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP  |  7 October 2015

I interviewed Denis Healey as part of the research for my biography of Aneurin Bevan in February 2011. He immediately seized on Bevan’s remark that ‘the right kind of leader for the Labour party is a kind of dessicated calculating-machine’. While Clement Attlee was still leader at the time the remark was made in September …

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Keep asking till you get the ‘right answer’

Richard Angell  |  2 October 2015

We need to talk to about what happened with Trident this week at Labour party conference. Before we do, it is worth remembering the reccurring horror show that this debate has long been for Labour. The last time Labour was in the wilderness, its unilateral disarmament stance was cited regularly by voters as a reason …

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Modernising modernisers

Richard Angell  |  25 September 2015

The result of the Labour leadership election was hurtful – to pretend otherwise would be untrue. I think the candidate that I supported did a brilliant job – tough though her task was. As Jeremy Corbyn said, Liz Kendall ‘absolutely stands up for what she believes in’. Yvette Cooper came out and changed government policy on refugees. …

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A Very Private Celebrity: The Nine Lives of John Freeman

Greg Rosen  |  3 September 2015

Of all Labour’s ‘great resignations’, arguably the most celebrated is Nye Bevan’s in 1951. Bevan famously refused to accept the introduction of NHS charges for teeth and spectacles. Hugh Gaitskell, Clement Attlee’s chancellor and Bevan’s then rival, insisted charges were necessary to pay for massive rearmament for the Korean war. For those asking today ‘What …

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