A Short History of the Labour Party by Henry Pelling (auth.)

By Henry Pelling (auth.)

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P. 141. 7· George Young, quoted Maddox, Foreign Relations in British Labour Politics, p. 74· 8. Henderson to Inkpin, 11 Sept. 1920, quoted in Labour Party Annual Report ( 1921 ), p. 19. FURTHER READING Dr. McKibbin's study, mentioned on p. 34, is the best account of organisational developments. See also Royden Harrison, 'The War Emergency National Workers' Committee, I9I4-I92o', in A. Briggs andJ. Saville, Essays in Labour History, 1886-1923 (197I); andj. M. Winter, Socialism and the Challenge of War ( I974)· On foreign policy, see W.

P. had been affiliated to the Labour Party since 1916, and it might have seemed natural for the new party also to have secured affiliation as a Socialist society. s The decision was an indication of the hardening discipline of the party as well as of its hostility to extreme revolutionary tactics. The decision of the Executive was endorsed by a large majority at the 1921 Labour Party Conference. In 1922 came a new general election and with it the reward for the skilful generalship of Henderson in the preceding eight years.

In 1910 he wrote to Hardie: 'I do not care a dump about the chairmanship, but I do want the party to be led . . 9 The illness of George Barnes enabled him to take over the chairmanship at the beginning of 191 I, and the following year he relinquished the secretaryship of the external organisation to Arthur Henderson. Arthur Henderson, as a non-Socialist ex-Liberal, had always been rather suspect among the Socialists of the Labour Party. But he had developed a considerable degree of loyalty to the organisation, and as a former official of an old craft union - the Friendly Society of lronfounder:s - he carried great influence with the union element in the party.

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