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Whatever happened to the Labour Party?

Publié par Clifford Armion le 10/01/2012

Owen Jones

What is Labour for? If you could pay a visit back to 1899, a railway signalman from Doncaster called Thomas R Steels would certainly have been able to answer. Exasperated at the lack of a political voice for working people while the wealthy had the Tories and Liberals to stand their corner, he drafted a resolution for his local union branch. It called on the Trade Union Congress to assemble a conference with the support “of all the cooperative, socialistic, trade union and other working-class organisations” to look at how it could win “a better representation of the interests of labour in the House of Commons”.
It was a controversial idea. The first socialist MP, Keir Hardie, had only been elected a few years ago; as he entered Parliament for the first time, a policeman eyed his working-class clothes and asked him if he was working on the roof. “No, on the floor,” he answered. Many on the left felt the best bet for working-class people was to piggyback on the Liberals, forcing them to introduce social reforms. But the TUC approved Steels’ motion – and a few years later, the Labour Party was born.
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Pour citer cette ressource :

"Whatever happened to the Labour Party?", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), janvier 2012. Consulté le 23/09/2021. URL: http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/archives/archives-revue-de-presse/whatever-happened-to-the-labour-party-