Posts Tagged ‘LRC’

Labour history uncut: the LRC finds its feet

27/11/2012, 05:56:40 PM

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

After the 1900 election, the Labour representation committee had managed to get two MPs into parliament: James Keir Hardie and Richard Bell.  Not a huge number, but at least they could hold party meetings on the omnibus to work.

Whipping was a much simpler affair too. No need to issue papers every week, Richard Bell just had to make sure that, when they went through the lobby, he was holding Keir Hardie’s hand.

For his part, Hardie was returning to parliament for the first time in five years. The time away had not dented the sense of proportion and willingness to compromise that had served him so well the first time round.

Early in 1901, he put down a motion calling for legislation, “inaugurating a Socialist Commonwealth founded upon the common ownership of land and capital, production for use and not for profit and equality of opportunity for every citizen.”  It would have included a free puppy for everyone too, but there wasn’t enough room on the order paper.

Hardie laid out his proposal to the commons.

‘”Who’s with me?” he asked.

“I am,” cried Dickie Bell.

“Anyone else?”

“Anyone?”

“Guys?”

The parliamentary equivalent of taking a shot on goal from kick-off had failed. Shocker. Clearly it was time for the LRC to get over the excitement of being in parliament, and face some difficult facts.

“You, at the back. Perhaps you’d like to share what’s so funny with the rest of the mob?” Keir Hardie addresses the crowd.

(more…)

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