A History Of The British Labour Party Politics Essay

23 Mar 2015

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The Labour Party is a political party in Great Britain that is just about 110 years old. The party was formed in 1900 as an outgrowth of the trade union movement and to change Parliaments interests. The reason the Labour Party wanted Parliament changed was because the people who formed the party felt that Parliament was not representing the interests of everybody in Britain. The people who felt neglected by Parliament were hard working people, socialists, and unionists. During the early stages, the Labour party struggled to make an immediate impact in Britain's political system and the party's leaders had to do something about their struggle. The Labour's leaders worked with Liberal Governments during 1906-1914 to help themselves gain some form of political ground. The Liberal parties eventually split in 1916 and the Labour Party saw this as a perfect opportunity to obtain power. The 1918 election proved a pivotal point for the Labour Party and even though they did not win the general election, they came away with one-quarter of the vote. The reason the 1918 election was so successful for the Labour's was because of World War I coming to an end and the growth of women's suffrage. On December 6, 1923, the Labour Party won the general election and finally reached the major political office for the first time in its party's history. The party only held office for a few months under Ramsay MacDonald, and failed to get reelected for a second term. A main reason for the party not getting reelected was because of the Zinoviev letter. The letter was published in British press stating that there were connections between Russian Communists and the Labour Party. Due to anti-communism in Great Britain, the Labour's lost the 1924 election as well as 40 seats in the House of Commons. The Zinoviev letter later turned out to be forgery, but the damage was already done to the Labour Party.

The Labour Party would rebound later in 1929, but the major election they won came in 1945. The crucial election followed after the Second World War. When the war ended in May 1945, Winston Churchill called for a general election a few months later in July. The Labour Party was running under the slogan of "Let Us Face the Future", and its message was that Britain cannot return to poverty and unemployment like the 1930s. The Labour Party also promised to remove disease, want, squalor, ignorance, and unemployment. The Labour's ended up winning in a landslide and this presented the party with the opportunity of making significant changes for Great Britain. After the crucial election in 1945, the Labour Party once again was elected in 1950 and this marked the first time in the Party's history where they won consecutive elections.

Following the 1950 election, the Labour Party would only be in office for around 14 years till 1997. The Conservative Party dominated the general elections, winning three consecutive terms in 1951-1959 and four consecutive terms in 1979-1992. This was a result of internal fighting of the Labour Party and as a consequence, people detached from the party to form the Social Democratic Party in 1981. All of these effects left the Labour Party out of dominance for nearly three decades and would not come back to power until Labour Party candidate Tony Blair was up for election. Blair had become the party leader in 1994 and won the 1997 general election in a landslide. Blair's term was also called the New Labour because it was seen as a separation from the old Labour for having different policies such as one known as the Third Way. The New Labour term was proven to be the right fit for Blair because he won the next two elections and this became the Labour Party's first time winning three consecutive elections. Blair did not become very popular with Great Britain and its citizens because of his stance on the Iraq War. Blair ended up resigning on June 27, 2007 and Gordon Brown was handed the Prime Minister position after Blair's resignation. Gordon Brow was the Chancellor of the Exchequer during Blair's term as Prime Minister of Great Britain. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is a Cabinet position responsible for all economic and financial matters. The economy was one of the main concerns for both Blair and Brown, but Blair had to overcome Thatcherism and implement a new strategy for fixing the economy.

There were many ideological platforms that Blair ran during the 10 years of being Prime Minister, but one of the main ones was reworking the economy. The way Blair



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