Posts Tagged ‘1929 Labour government’

Labour history uncut: Crash! Bang! Wallop! What an economy

07/07/2013, 11:09:08 PM

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

On 31st May 1929, Ramsay Macdonald departed Darlington for London, cheered by a massed crowd swathed in green and white, Labour’s minty-fresh colours in the north east.

At each stop crowds were gathered at the platform demanding a speech from the election victor. He duly obliged where he could, although thanks to the use of station Tannoys, nobody actually understood any of it.

By the time Macdonald arrived at King Cross station at 11pm there were 12,000 people waiting. This wasn’t simply because of over-running engineering works outside Peterborough, either. The huge crowd was there to herald the return, albeit as a minority administration again, of a Labour government.

No pressure then.

Nobody was impressed by Ramsay Macdonald’s impression of a stamp

The next day Macdonald began the painful process of sulks and tantrums that came with forming a new government.

His first appointment should have been easy. Like last time Macdonald wanted to select an unfailingly loyal foreign secretary – himself.

But Arthur Henderson rather fancied a job where he could visit foreign countries and then invade them. He threatened to boycott the government if he didn’t get the job.


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