Dissension and Decline (1950–60)

  • Henry Pelling


The main characteristics of the 1950’s for the Labour Party were: public dissension among its leaders, and a decline of its popularity with the electorate. The two features were of course connected, though perhaps not as closely as some people may imagine, for, as we have seen, there had been plenty of open disagreements within the party in its long years of growth before the Second World War.


Dust Assure Petrol Gall Pier 


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Further Reading

  1. For a journalistic but well-informed account of the controversies within the Labour ranks, see Leslie Hunter, Road to Brighton Pier (1959).Google Scholar
  2. S. Haseler, The Gaitskellites (1969), examines the views of the right-wing leadership sympathetically and in detail.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. For left-wing attitudes to questions of foreign policy in the first post-war decade, see Leon D. Epstein, Britain: Uneasy Ally (Chicago, 1954).Google Scholar
  4. Different views of the party’s power-structure and the rote of the party conference are put by Robert T. McKenzie in his British Political Parties and by Saul Rose, ‘Policy Discussion in Opposition’, Political Studies iv (1956), 126–38.Google Scholar
  5. See also Robert T. McKenzie, ‘Policy Decisions in Opposition: A Rejoinder’, Political Studies v (1957), 176–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Mr McKenzie’s book, though of great value, deals inadequately with the historical role of the trade-union leadership within the party. For an account of how the succession to Attlee was determined, see the articles by Lord Williamson and Sam Watson in W. T. Rodgers (ed.), Hugh Gaitskell, 1906–63 (1964).Google Scholar
  7. Martin Harrison’s Trade Unions and the Labour Party since 1945 is also important for this period, as are the Nuffield election studies for 1951, 1955, and 1959, all of them partially or wholly prepared by David Butler.Google Scholar
  8. For studies of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament see C. Driver, The Disarmers (1964)Google Scholar
  9. and F. Parkin, Middle-class Radicalism (Manchester, 1968).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Henry Pelling 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Pelling
    • 1
  1. 1.CambridgeUK

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