FAQ: What is the Labour Party?
Posted by Matt Walker on October 27, 2009
In 1924 and 1929-31 they formed their first but minority governments. It was only in the 1945 election that they were able to win a significant majority and pursued Keynesianism, nationalisation, and welfare policies. This approach later became known as Old Labour.
Labour spent most of the 20th century trying to appeal to working class voters. This was natural given their trade union origins and subsequent reliance on their funding. It was also tactically sensible at a time when the working classes comprised the majority of society.
During the 1990s, however, Labour shifted its position on many policy areas, pulling the party to the centre ground. In 1992, they lost their 4th consecutive election and it became apparent to many in the party – including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown – that a coalition of working class and middle class voters was required to win a general election. Hence in 1994, after Tony Blair became leader, the party changed Clause IV of its constitution, abandoning its largely symbolic commitment to socialism.
In 1997, 2001 and 2005 New Labour maintained sufficient middle class support in southern England to win three consecutive elections for the first time in its history. However, the war in Iraq and the current recession have undermined its electoral coalition, which may see a large number of its southern, middle class voters decamping back to the Tories.
This entry was posted on October 27, 2009 at 10:56 am and is filed under Political Parties, Socialism. Tagged: History of the Labour Party. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.