Hopes and Suicide Notes: As Labour Draws Up the Pledges It Will Put to the Voters, It May Find Inspiration-Or Warnings-In Promises of the Past

By Griffiths, Clare | New Statesman (1996), September 28, 2009 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Hopes and Suicide Notes: As Labour Draws Up the Pledges It Will Put to the Voters, It May Find Inspiration-Or Warnings-In Promises of the Past


Griffiths, Clare, New Statesman (1996)


Labour's Call to the People (1918)

"Labour's programme is comprehensive and constructive. It is designed to build a new world, and to build it by constitutional means."

Labour's early manifestos focused on a few specific issues and emphasised the importance of labour representation as a principle. The 1918 document was far more substantial, outlining a programme for a fair peace, more openness in international relations, freedom for Ireland and India, progressive taxation, improvements in housing, health, education and conditions of employment, and land reform. It marked a crucial point in the party's development, as it contested large numbers of seats across the country for the first time. At the first general election in which women were eligible to vote, Labour claimed to be "the Women's Party", insisting on equal rights and full adult suffrage. And there was a commitment to an overtly socialist agenda: "The immediate nationalisation and democratic control of vital public services."

Election result: Coalition government

Let Us Face the Future (1945)

"The nation needs a tremendous overhaul, a great programme of modernisation and re-equipment of its homes, its factories and machinery, its schools, its social services."

The winning programme set out here defined the party for years to come. The central policies--for full employment, nationalisation of the Bank of England, public ownership of key industries, social security and a national health service--featured prominently among the achievements of the Attlee government. Socialist principles were asserted boldly, but the decisive factor was that voters identified Labour as the party most likely to deliver on housing and the introduction of social insurance. Let Us Face the Future concluded not with a reinforcement of particular policy commitments, but with a pragmatic appeal to the progressive vote.

Election result: Labour's first majority

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Let's Go with Labour for the New Britain (1964)

"Skill, talent and brainpower are our most important national resources."

This manifesto was all about planning. There were plans for industry, the regions, transport, tax reform and prices, with ambitious goals to modernise the British economy and stimulate technological development. The tone was upbeat and informal, but there was substance, too, with commitments to (among other things) disarmament, a charter of rights for employees, attacks on waste in public expenditure, action against racial discrimination and the creation of a Ministry for Overseas Development. The manifesto also committed to state funding for sport, the arts and youth centres. The Wilson administration made considerable progress with this reform agenda, and returned with an increased mandate in 1966.

Election result: Narrow Labour win

Let Us Work Together--Labour's Way Out of the Crisis (February 1974)

"The aims set out in this manifesto are Socialist aims, and we are proud of the word.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Hopes and Suicide Notes: As Labour Draws Up the Pledges It Will Put to the Voters, It May Find Inspiration-Or Warnings-In Promises of the Past
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?