Labour history

Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP  |  30 October 2014

On 4 July 1948, the day before the introduction of the National Health Service, the Labour party held a rally in Manchester. The main speaker, Labour’s minister of health and housing, Aneurin Bevan, captured the significance of the moment: ‘The eyes of the world are turning to Great Britain. We now have the moral leadership …

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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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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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No sacred cows

Gregg McClymont MP  |  25 September 2014

Labour revisionism takes on both leftwing orthodoxy and the destructive potential of capitalism, writes Gregg McClymont Each generation must overturn the conventional wisdoms of the last. In social democracy this process for more than a century has been called revisionism. Its author, the German Social Democrat politician Eduard Bernstein, observed the failure of Marxism theory …

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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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Launch party

Paul Richards  |  21 September 2014

The pre-election conference season can herald victory or spell defeat for political parties. Paul Richards examines the lessons of history The party’s conferences have often been a case study in how to lose votes and alienate voters. Before Labour’s worst-ever defeat in 1983, Labour’s conferences had been horrible spectacles of recrimination and extremism. The party …

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Making change from the backbenches

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP  |  23 July 2014

Leo Abse was arguably the 20th century’s most influential backbench member of parliament. Born in Cardiff on 22 April 1917, he read law at the London School of Economics. During the second world war, he served in the RAF, and was in Egypt when the ‘Forces Parliament’ met in 1944 to debate what the postwar …

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How New Labour built one nation

Giles Radice  |  18 July 2014

Labour needs to remember its considerable achievements in power, believes Giles Radice When on the morning of 12 May 1994 the tragic news broke of John Smith’s death, it became almost immediately obvious that the charismatic shadow home secretary, Tony Blair, then only 41, would become his successor. Under Blair’s leadership, the Labour party went …

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Present at the creation

Richard Angell and Robert Philpot  |  7 July 2014

Twenty years after Tony Blair’s election as party leader, Peter Mandelson tells Robert Philpot and Richard Angell why winning the centre-ground is more important than ever Peter Mandelson’s autobiography bills him as the ‘third man’ of New Labour, an indispensable part of the modernising triumvirate which, with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, built the foundations of …

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Remembering Jim Griffiths

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP  |  12 June 2014

This year, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Welsh Office. The first secretary of state for Wales, appointed by Labour prime minister Harold Wilson in October 1964, was James Griffiths. James (‘Jim’) Griffiths, a deeply committed campaigner for devolution, is one of the most under-rated of Welsh politicians. As minister for …

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