Labour and cultural change
Author: Steven Fielding

This book is the first in the new series The Labour Governments 1964–70 and concentrates on Britain's domestic policy during Harold Wilson's tenure as Prime Minister. It deals, in particular, with how the Labour government and Labour party as a whole tried to come to terms with the 1960's cultural revolution. The book is grounded in original research, takes account of responses from Labour's grass roots and from Wilson's ministerial colleagues, and constructs a total history of the party at this critical moment in history. It situates Labour in its wider cultural context and focuses on how the party approached issues such as the apparent transformation of the class structure, the changing place of women in society, rising immigration, the widening generation gap, and increasing calls for direct participation in politics. Together with the other volumes in the series, on international policy and economic policy, the book provides an insight into the development of Britain under Harold Wilson's government.

Rhiannon Vickers

Vic04 10/15/03 2:10 PM Page 80 Chapter 4 The Labour minority governments The Labour Party saw an improvement in its electoral fortunes in the immediate post-war period. At the 1918 election Labour gained 22 per cent of the vote, a tremendous increase from 7 per cent at the last election held in 1910.1 During the war both the trade union and the Labour Party membership had doubled, and working-class militancy had increased in the first few years of peace.2 With the concomitant increase in class-consciousness, the working class now identified far more

in The Labour Party and the world, volume 1
Open Access (free)
Rhiannon Vickers

Vic07 10/15/03 2:11 PM Page 159 Chapter 7 The Attlee governments The election of a majority Labour government in 1945 generated great excitement on the left. Hugh Dalton described how ‘That first sensation, tingling and triumphant, was of a new society to be built. There was exhilaration among us, joy and hope, determination and confidence. We felt exalted, dedication, walking on air, walking with destiny.’1 Dalton followed this by aiding Herbert Morrison in an attempt to replace Attlee as leader of the PLP.2 This was foiled by the bulky protection of Bevin

in The Labour Party and the world, volume 1
Open Access (free)
Steven Fielding

Britain remained a society tainted by class. In 1956, Labour’s conference approved Towards Equality, a document broadly in tune with revisionist thinking and which confirmed the existence of ‘a strong, persistent trend towards economic and social inequality’.1 Even Anthony Crosland, who in the same year predicted that ‘primary poverty’ (i.e. insufficient incomes) would disappear by the mid-1960s, still considered inequality a serious problem that only government action could finally eradicate.2 A key element in Labour’s solution to the persistence of class differences

in The Labour Governments 1964–70 volume 1
Steven Fielding

They consider Labour’s prescriptive notions of how the young should think and act inhibited its efforts. In particular, at the start of the decade the party’s ‘residual puritanism’ is supposed to have prevented it evoking a positive response among purportedly hedonistic proletarians.4 At the end of the 1960s, many believed the government’s political caution had estranged middle-class students.5 This chapter questions the exclusively ‘supply-side’ explanation of Labour’s failure evident in such accounts. In fact, the party’s various attempts to evoke a positive

in The Labour Governments 1964–70 volume 1
Open Access (free)
Cultural and political change in 1960s Britain
Steven Fielding

authority was subject to sweeping critique. This book examines the nature of Labour’s response during the 1964–70 governments led by Harold Wilson. Yet, while a work of history, it views its subject with one eye on the debate that began in the 1990s regarding how parties should react to what was believed to be another period of flux. By establishing how Labour thought and acted during the 1960s, it is hoped this work will put into perspective certain issues currently preoccupying those interested in the viability of representative politics. The purpose of this

in The Labour Governments 1964–70 volume 1
The Women’s National Commission
Wendy Stokes

184 CASE STUDIES 9 The government of the United Kingdom: the Women’s National Commission1 wendy stokes Introduction There have been two significant stages in the creation of national machineries for women within government in the United Kingdom. The first phase was in the 1960s and 1970s, when anti-discrimination and equal pay legislation was accompanied by the creation of the Equal Opportunities Commissions (EOC) in England, Scotland and Wales, and the UK-wide Women’s National Commission (WNC). The governments of the 1980s and 1990s established a Minister for

in Mainstreaming gender, democratizing the state?
Hannah Jones, Yasmin Gunaratnam, Gargi Bhattacharyya, William Davies, Sukhwant Dhaliwal, Emma Jackson and Roiyah Saltus

3 Immigration and the limits of statistical government Camden Town Hall in North London is a popular venue for weddings and civil ceremonies. In November 2013 it was the venue for the marriage of a Miao Guo, a Chinese national in her twenties and Massimo Ciabattini, an Italian man in his thirties, for which elaborate preparations had been made, including a post-service reception and a hotel room for the night. The ceremony was dramatically

in Go home?
Steven Fielding

8 Engaging with participation Most contemporaries dismissed Labour’s attempts to accommodate demands for government to promote greater popular access to decisionmaking. Those on the New Left presumed the Cabinet opposed greater involvement in the political process; such critics adhered to Ralph Miliband’s contention that the leadership was devoted to the parliamentary system and implacably hostile to those who challenged the constitutional status quo.1 Censure was not, however, restricted to the far left. The backbench MP John Mackintosh was one of an

in The Labour Governments 1964–70 volume 1
Open Access (free)
The 1970 general election
Steven Fielding

9 Conclusion. The 1970 general election Labour lost the 1970 general election, ending what was then only the second time the party had held office backed by a comfortable Commons majority. Unlike Clement Attlee’s 1945–51 administration, however, Wilson’s had few positive achievements to its name. The consensus among the government’s innumerable critics on the left was that this was a failure of will more than circumstance. As Ralph Miliband wrote, the government ‘could have had all the support it required from trade unionists, had it been seen to be genuinely

in The Labour Governments 1964–70 volume 1