BARRY WINTER reviews Chris Hall’s latest book on the ILP and the Spanish Civil War.
PAUL SIMPSON examines the life and politics of ILP founder Keir Hardie, uncovering staunch principles, distinct traits and personal contradictions.
James Keir Hardie was born in Lanarkshire in Scotland in August 1856. At seven he began work as a message boy and by the age of 10 he was working in a mine as a trapper, one of the boys who opened doors to let a coal cart through. At 17 he signed the temperance pledge.
KATH CONNOLLY delves into the early life of socialist firebrand Jennie Lee, finding a woman steeped in the ILP and the politics she learned at the family fireside in Fife.
Growing up in the 1950s and ’60s I remember Jennie Lee as a small, grey-haired woman, a fiery speaker and chair of Labour Party conference. And as an Open University graduate in 1978 I was aware of her role in establishing the OU. The ILP’s 120th anniversary is an opportunity to look at the roots of her politics and her political life in more detail.
GRAHAM TAYLOR celebrates the life and achievements of Alfred Salter, the brilliant doctor, Bermondsey MP and lifelong ILPer who helped transform an impoverished corner of south east London.
His life is chiefly known from Fenner Brockway’s 1949 classic of political biography, Bermondsey Story, which describes in moving terms how the young doctor dedicated his life to a slum area overrun by squalor and disease.
DAVID HOWELL remembers DH Lawrence and ‘the Eastwood circle’, a dissenting academy in Nottinghamshire ‘with the ILP at its heart’. Its lost world of Edwardian socialism shows that while ‘vision is essential, it is never enough’.
The Eastwood circle epitomised the ILP’s moral politics at a moment of optimism and diversity – a politics of ethical socialism, feminism, syndicalism and radical sexual thought.
JEFF CUTHBERT, Deputy Minister for Skills in the Welsh Government, grew up surrounded by history and principles thanks to his parents, lifelong ILPers Bill and Jennie Cuthbert.
My two brothers and I grew up with busts of James Maxton and Keir Hardie; bookshelves full of Fenner Brockway and George Orwell; regular deliveries of the Socialist Leader; holidays at summer schools (often raining); and aunties and uncles who turned out to be nothing of the kind.
The tale of a north London primary school which resisted Michael Gove’s forced academy programme has been captured in a powerful new documentary. MATTHEW BROWN reports.
In September 2011, pupils and teachers returned to Downhills Primary in Haringey, north London, for the start of a new school year full of hope and optimism about the school’s future. What happened next is a tale of central government bullying and council complicity, of right-wing ideology trumping experience and evidence, of private sector power overriding local democracy and a community’s wishes.
In the second of our anniversary profiles, MICHAEL HERBERT remembers Hannah Mitchell, lifelong socialist and suffragette, an ILPer whose posthumous autobiography is a classic account of a working class woman’s quest for personal and political liberation.
Mitchell was born in 1871 on a remote farm in Alport Dale, Derbyshire. She had just two weeks schooling, but became a local councillor, writer and magistrate.
“He was a great man of a new kind, which the history books have not caught up with yet,” wrote JB Priestley of Fred Jowett. IAN BULLOCK profiles the ILPer who campaigned tirelessly for democratic reform.
FW – or Fred – Jowett (1864-1944), known widely during his lifetime as ‘Jowett of Bradford’, was a prominent member of the ILP from the party’s foundation in Bradford in 1893, through all its trials, tribulations, vicissitudes and disaffiliation from Labour until his death towards the end of the Second World War.
JON CRUDDAS MP recalls the life of former Labour leader and east London ILPer George Lansbury, arguing that his life, work and principles crystallise the journey of political rediscovery underway in Ed Miliband’s ‘one nation’ Labour Party.
George Lansbury is one of the great heroes of the Labour Party. He was to quote the great historian AJP Taylor, “the most lovable figure in British politics”, one of the most extraordinary people ever to join our party.