The British labour movement has always venerated the collective ideal: solidarity, mass endeavour, the common good. Yet, it also draws constant inspiration from the ideas and achievements of single individuals. From Hardie to Bevan, from Benn to Kinnock and Scargill, Labour’s progress or decline has always been inextricably bound with its major personalities and the concept of leadership. Labour People opens up a gallery of vivid portraits, covering nine decade of Labour’s stormy history. Drawing on extensive original material, and in some cases, personal acquaintance, it presents the parliamentary leaders, trade union officials, intellectuals, machine apparatchiks, prophets, planners, and pioneers of four main chronological periods.
Noted labour historian Kenneth Morgan begins his survey of Labour’s greats with the founding fathers who shaped the turn-of-the-century labour policies, and moves on to the young economic planners of the 1940s and the post World War II revisionists, ending with current profiles of Britain’s formidable mining leaders. Setting these portraits in a historical and comparative framework, this book provides a panoramic vista of the history, ideas, strengths, and limitations of the British Labour movement in the 20th century.