A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Book Review

Also at last night's GC, for the bargain price of 3 quid I purchased comrade Graham Bash's new history of the Labour Party - 100 Years of Labour - available online here http://www.100yearsoflabour.net

I can recommend it as a quick read - it's only 80 pages. If you are on the left of the party you'll agree with the analysis, if you are on my side it's always good to know where your opponents are coming from.

As you would expect from Graham who is from the left faction within Labour Left Briefing which is in itself the left faction within the LRC, which is the left faction within ... (you get the picture) ... the analysis is one of constant leadership betrayal punctured with rare moments of glorious triumph (i.e. 1983!).

However it's a punchy, well-written little book which is factually accurate and if you can filter out the propaganda aspects, a good intro to Labour history.

The launch of the book is intended to help John McDonnell's leadership bid ... I'm fairly sure on first reading that there is not a single mention of a certain Gordon Brown in the whole tome ...

The book's conclusion is that "if socialists in the Labour Party today have a point of reference, then it must be the vision of the Bennites of the early 1980s". Its weakness is that its authors have not moved on politically since then. Do they really think the Alternative Economic Strategy etc. which was autarkic nonsense even in 1983 is really relevant in a globalised economy? And why do they think Bennism would be any more attractive to the wider electorate than it was 20 years ago?

Any one out there who fancies co-authoring an 80 page short history of Labour from the alternative, moderate perspective?


Blogger Dave Cole said...

I think that calling the Alternative Economic Strategy autarkic isn't fair. While it advocated import controls and so on, autarky would have been banning imports outright.

11:54 am, July 28, 2006

Blogger Tom said...

what a surprisingly balanced review!

6:26 pm, July 28, 2006

Blogger Merseymike said...

You mean the genuine moderate Labour perspective, say, that of Roy hattersley, Peter Kilfoyle, or the late Mo Mowlam, or the CIA agent who appears to have colonised the party and turned it into something few will bother to turn out for next time?

12:49 am, August 04, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Mike, Blair isn't standing next time so can only be judged on his 3 election wins. Which is 3 more than Hattersley was ever involved in.

11:20 am, August 07, 2006


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