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By Henry Pelling (auth.)

This textual content presents an introductory account of the Labour occasion from its origin. It not just covers the interval as much as and together with the election of Neil Kinnock because the chief of the Labour occasion but additionally concentrates at the difficulties of the parliamentary leadership.

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MacDonald himself, so far as one can tell, sincerely believed in the principles of Lloyd George's Insurance Act, and not least in the contributory principle, which many Socialists felt to be contrary to their faith. As he said in his Second Reading speech, 'I am in favour of insurance and not of free gift'. 7 On the other hand, Snowden and the Webbs, together with Lansbury who had served with Mrs. Webb on the Poor Law Commission, were united in opposition to this view. Their aim was a National Health Service undertaking preventive measures for the benefit of the whole community.

The most prominent Syndicalist leader was Tom Mann, who had come to public notice for his part in the 1889 dock strike, 25 A Short History of the Labour Party but who since then for ten years or so had been working in New Zealand and Australia. Mann now reinforced his renown by successfully conducting a large-scale transport strike on Merseyside. , but it did not make very much permanent impression upon the officialdom of the unions. I ts greatest success was perhaps in the field of amalgamation, and in particular it led to the merging of the Railway Servants and two other railwaymen's unions into the National Union of Railwaymen.

Beatrice Webb's Diaries, 1912-1924 ( 1952) is the most valuable section of the diaries for Labour Party history. V. L. , 1918-27', British journal ef Sociology, xi ( 1960), 24-43, is helpful on an allied subject. Catherine A. , 1963), studies the conversion of intellectuals to Socialism in this period and in the 1920's. CHAPTER IV The MacDonald Leadership (1922-31) THE years 1922-31 were the years of Ramsay MacDonald's leadership of the Labour Party. The very concept of 'leadership' was something of a novelty : but MacDonald was a leader in a sense that none of his predecessors in the party chairmanship (including himself before the war) had been.

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