Labour's Grass Roots Essays on the Activities of Local Labour Parties and Members, 1918�45
The period between 1918 and 1945 witnessed dynamic social and economic developments in Britain as the notion of a government controlled economy and welfare state took root. In order to be understood, this shift in the political landscape needs to be seen in context of the growth of mass political movements and the implementation of fuller democratic processes in the aftermath of the Great War. But whilst much has been written on the rise of the Labour Party, the decline of the Liberals and the domination of the Conservatives in the sphere of high politics, much less research has been done on the local or regional experience of Britain's main political parties between the wars. This volume brings together ten essays that together provide an introduction to the role, influence and effectiveness of Labour Party activists across Britain. Taking a systematic and comparative approach that examines a range of representative areas, this volume is more than simply a collection of local studies. Instead it utilises the local to develop and illuminate the wider dynamics at work inside the Labour Party. By emphasising the role of the party membership, Britain's social and political evolution can be reconstructed from grass-roots level, taking into account the priorities and expectations of the people who sustained and cultivated the nation's social-political base. By addressing reoccurring issues of interest to labour historians, such as gender, nationalism, the co-operative movement and trade unionism, through the locus of regionalism and local party activity, this volume will not only provide scholars with a better understanding of the Labour Party, but should stimulate similar much needed research into other political parties and organisations.