The Nature of Labour’s Historic Coalition

  • Geoffrey Lee Williams
  • Alan Lee Williams


The major source of influence, then, over the Labour Party until the 1970s was the ideology of Labourism which was derived from the four distinct socialist groupings which the distinguished historian of the Labour Party, the late Professor G. D. H. Cole, identified as constituting the doctrinal basis of the Labour Party.1 Cole clarifies several types of socialism — utopian, scientific, anarchist and evolutionary — but his principal distinction is between utopian socialism and ‘scientific’ socialism. Labourism, however, mediates ‘between nation and class and does so by establishing the general ascendency of nation over class’.2 The ideology of Labourism is a synthesis of working-class power and middle-class revisionism — an equally contradictory mix of liberalism and collectivism — which was articulated by John Strachey and Anthony Crosland, derived, perhaps, from Evan Durbin.3 The ideology of Labourism became the basis of Labour’s realpoliti. in its foreign policy during and after the Second World War until 1979.4


Foreign Policy Trade Union National Interest Labour Movement Labour Government 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    G. D. H. Cole, ‘What is Socialism?’, in Ideologies of Politics. ed. Anthony De Grespigny and Jeremy Cronin, OUP, 1975, p. 16.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Evan Durbin, The Politics of Democratic Socialism. Routledge. 1940.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Stephen Hasler, The Gaitskellites. Macmillan, 1969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 6.
    Henry Pelling, The Origins of the Labour Party. Clarendon, 1954.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Anthony Crosland, The Future of Socialism. Cape, 1956.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Eric Heifer, The Class Struggle in Parliamen. Lawrence & Wishart, 1973.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    G. D. H. Cole, A Short History of the British Working-Class Movement. Allen & Unwin, 1948.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Stephen Hasler, The Death of British Democracy. Elek, 1973.Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    Margaret Cole, The Story of Fabian Socialism. Macmillan, 1961.Google Scholar
  10. 19.
    Ralph Miliband, Parliamentary Socialism. OUP, 1973.Google Scholar
  11. 40.
    G. D. H. Cole, A History of the Labour Party. Routledge, 1948.Google Scholar
  12. 47.
    Joseph Frankel, National Interest. OUP, 1963.Google Scholar
  13. 52.
    Anthony Crosland, The Future of Socialism. Jonathan Cape, 1956;Google Scholar
  14. and John Strachey, Contemporary Capitalism. Gollanccz, 1956.Google Scholar
  15. 65.
    John Strachey, In Pursuit of Peace. Fabian Society, 1961, p. 18.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Geoffrey Lee Williams and Alan Lee Williams 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Lee Williams
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alan Lee Williams
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.University of SurreyUK
  2. 2.The Institute of Economic and Political Studies (INSTEP)CambridgeUK
  3. 3.Toynbee HallUK
  4. 4.Parliament for HornchurchUK

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