Posts Tagged ‘Workers Weekly’

Labour history uncut: Labour plays itself into government and then throws away its wicket

03/05/2013, 06:01:44 PM

by Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal

Labour took office in 1924 and there was a lot to do.

Unemployment was stuck above 10%, public debt was out of control and the economy barely seemed to have a pulse.

So the first order of business? Working out what to wear when meeting the king.

Regal tradition dictated that government ministers wore court dress in their regular audiences with the monarch. On the other hand, for some reason, Labour supporters had never really taken to the regency dandy look.

In the absence of a Trotsky and Susannah to advise Labour what not to wear, the new cabinet engaged in delicate negotiations first with itself, and then the palace on the weighty matters of wardrobe.

George V did everything he could to support Britain’s gold braid industry

The problem was indicative of Labour’s broader challenge: how to achieve respectability in office (and help win over the millions of voters who still viewed Labour as communists in flat caps) without sacrificing the radicalism that distinguished the party.


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