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Title: Labour politics and the affluent society, 1951-1964
Author: Donnelly, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0001 3429 0390
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1994
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Post-war affluence for a time appeared to threaten Labour's future as a party of government in Britain. After the Party's third consecutive election defeat in 1959 commentators suggested that the twinned growth of affluence and consumerism had begun to erode Labour's traditional base of support. It was argued that workers aspired to middle class values and lifestyles as they became more prosperous and as a consequence abandoned the Labour Party. Wilson's victory in 196A showed that predictions about the Party's long-term demise had been wide of the mark. But historians have continued to search for an explanation for Labour's apparent electoral weakness in the 1950s. This thesis will argue that the descriptions of weakness and failure which have been applied to the Labour. Party in the affluent post-war years have been overstated. It will aim to show that the underlying strength and vitality of the Party in the 1950s and early 1960s have been too often overlooked. After the aims of the thesis have been explained in more detail in the introduction, chapter two examines the internal politics of the Labour Party between the elections of 1951 and 1955. Policy-making during this period is also discussed. Chapter three focuses on Hugh Gaitskell's leadership of the Party between December 1955 and October 1959. Labour's three year review of policy is discussed in chapter four and it will be shown that this review provided the basis for the manifestos of 1959 and 1964. Chapter five will examine the Party's response to the 1959 election defeat. Chapter six is a discussion of policy-making between 1959 and 1964. Chapter seven assesses the internal opposition to the Labour leadership after 1955 and chapter eight is a discussion of local Labour politics during the thirteen years of opposition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Labour Party, 1951-1964