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The new Liberalism and the challenge of Labour in the West Riding of Yorkshire 1885-1914 with special reference to Huddersfield

Perks, R.B. (1985) The new Liberalism and the challenge of Labour in the West Riding of Yorkshire 1885-1914 with special reference to Huddersfield. Doctoral thesis, Huddersfield Polytechnic.

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This thesis contributes substantially to a debate that has long been
a preoccupation of historians surrounding the timing, underlying reasons
for, and inevitability (or otherwise) of the Labour Party's replacement
of Liberalism as the main opponent to the Conservative Party. In terms
of the context for examining the extent and potential of Labour's
challenge to Liberalism before 1914 and the presence of any form of
'progressive' or 'new' Liberalism, there has been a shift away from the
ambit of national politics to that of local parliamentary and municipal
politics. Amongst those areas of Britain that have been the subject
of analysis, West Yorkshire, as the very birthplace of the Independent
Labour Party, remains predominant and this study, by highlighting
Huddersfield, complements and extends work already carried out on Leeds,
Bradford and the Colne Valley.

Through a close analysis of the local and regional press, election
results, personal papers, party records, pamphlets and trade union
records, in conjunction with secondary sources, the emergence and nature
of the Labour movement's challenge to a Liberalism dominated by a
Nonconformist textile manufacturer elite, is examined. Trade unionism's
central role in the establishment of the Huddersfield Labour Union in
1891 is evident. So too is the belated conversion of the Huddersfield
Trades Council to independent parliamentary labour representation which,
when combined with a religious, ethical form of Socialism around 1906,
posed so serious a threat to established Liberalism that only opportune
party re-organisation, an undemocratic franchise, and bitter divisions
within the Labour movement, could save it. Yet even amidst its
parliamentary victories of 1906 and 1910 Huddersfield Liberalism was,
through its continued intransigence towards working-class concerns and
its espousal of outdated issues, which had diminishing relevance to a
nascent class-based electorate, increasingly less viable both electorally
and intellectually.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID
Uncontrolled Keywords: Yorkshire political history, Political science, Public administration Political science
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
Depositing User: Graham Stone
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2009 11:05
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2015 22:09


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