Posts Tagged ‘workmen’s compensation act’

Labour history uncut: Labour discovers the fun in factions and the value of big friends

11/12/2012, 10:19:55 PM

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

Following the 1906 election, a new dawn seemed to have broken. 29 Labour MPs had been swept into parliament, a huge step forward.

Even the monarchy noticed the Labour influx. “I see,” wrote the prince of Wales to Edward VII, “that a great number of Labour members have been returned which is a rather dangerous sign, but I hope not all are socialists.”

Which just goes to show why princes of Wales shouldn’t be allowed writing desks

Nonetheless, the prince did have a small point.

Critics suggested the Labour Party’s 1906 version of Reservoir Dogs suffered from too many characters

It was true, there were a number of actual socialists in the Labour party. These were generally idealists, who had entered the movement via the independent Labour party (ILP) or social democratic federation (SDF).  They had spent years discussing big ideas like smashing capitalism and now in parliament, were eager to get cracking on the new workers’ utopia that was just around the corner.

On the other side were pragmatic union folk. They had spent a similar number of years getting up in the morning to go to work, so hadn’t had much time to think about economic systems, although they did know you couldn’t feed the wife and kids on big ideas.


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