Posts Tagged ‘1922’

Labour history uncut: The day the Labour party nearly died

06/09/2013, 05:03:24 PM

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

Parliament dissolved on October 7th 1931 in preparation for an election on the 27th.

It was hard to believe the national government had been formed just six weeks earlier. At that time, Ramsay Macdonald had promised his shocked Labour colleagues that there would be no coupons or pacts when the election came.

Now he slowly opened up his card to reveal… “Bluff.”

The national government resolved to stand as a single unit. Expelled from the Labour party, Macdonald, Philip Snowden, Jimmy Thomas and the other Labour defectors readied themselves for a contest where they would fight the colleagues they had once worked so hard to support.

Ramsay Macdonald’s spoke softly and carried a big stick – for beating off angry Labour voters

Alongside them were the other members of the polyglot coalition. This national government had determined to go into the election asking for a “doctor’s mandate,” a request to be given a free hand to deal with the nation’s ills as they saw fit.

As a pitch, there were some obvious flaws.

The first was that the one significant prescription this national government had offered during the currency crisis, to try to stay on the gold standard at all costs, had proved catastrophically wrong.

But worse, now the gold standard had been abandoned, on the question of the economy, the three squabbling parties could not agree on the nation’s illness, let alone the cure.


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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

30/07/2010, 01:59:21 PM

As reported earlier this week on Uncut, the PLP is considering the formation of a back benchers committee, along the lines of the Tories 1922 Committee.

As George Eaton argued back in May in the New Statesman, this would give a forum where MPs can discuss and debate issues without fear of ministerial interference, stating that:

The creation of a 2010 Committee would go some way to reversing the progressive centralisation of the party under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

 The letter from Margaret Beckett which outlined the proposals for the shadow cabinet elections seemed to agree with Eaton’s view, stating:

 We believe the PLP standing orders should be re-drafted to recognise the Parliamentary Committee as a body that sits irrespective of whether we are in government or opposition, as a specific vehicle for the views of backbenchers to be put to the leadership on a regular and sustained basis.

In a follow up to Beckett’s letter, Tony Lloyd contacted the PLP again last night with a further proposal for change, based on an existing Tory system. This time setting out a proposal for a Labour parliamentary research unit, based on the Conservative Parliamentary Research Unit (PRU), which according to their website is:

 a non-profit making, shared service based in the Houses of Parliament, and provides briefing, research, correspondence and related support to 150 Conservative MPs and front bench peers wholly, exclusively and necessarily in support of their Parliamentary duties.

The party machine seems to be settling in, gearing up for opposition. Looking to ensure Labour MPs are ready to fight the good fight. Making sure the leadership doesn’t get carried away. Ensuring the voices of backbenchers are heard. 

All we need now is a leader to hear them.

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