Class and politics in the work of Henry Pelling
in Interpreting the Labour Party

This chapter looks at Henry Pelling's early work on the origins of the Labour Party and shows how it was based on a coherent, if theoretically understated conception of class and politics in modern Britain. It examines some of Pelling's unpublished papers to explore the influences on his thinking of a distinctive and, for an allegedly dull historian, perhaps surprisingly continental strand of socialist thought. The chapter demonstrates that a position is sympathetic to the moderate mainstream of the Labour Party. Pelling's subsequent doctoral research on the early history of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) brought him into personal contact with many of the by-then-elderly pioneers of British Labour politics. The Origins of the Labour Party did contain significant teleological elements, for it identified those chains of events, which led to the end-point of the foundation conference in 1900.

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Interpreting the Labour Party

Approaches to Labour politics and history

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