A Short History of the Labour Party by Henry Pelling (auth.)

By Henry Pelling (auth.)

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I But Grey's speech and, more particularly, the invasion of Belgium which took place next day (4th August) had the effect of transforming public opinion. It now became clear that there was almost universal enthusiasm for the declaration of war, and many of those who had previously hesitated were convinced by the need to fight on behalf of Belgium, whether for the sake of honour or for reasons of national expediency. The British ultimatum to Germany expired late in the evening of -4-th August; and next morning, when the National Executive of the Labour Party met, it was apparent that the party no longer presented a united front of opposition to the war.

P. formed a militant group which was distinctly to the left of the older leaders. In fact, they were the political offspring of the industrial discontent of wartime, which in Scotland had assumed the form of a national movement. P. : the Labour Party did, however, win strength in areas where before the war it had been comparatively weak in the face 50 Henderson's Party: War and Reconstruction (1914-22) of Liberalism: notably in Yorkshire and the North-East, and in Greater London. s from all classes of the community - a fitting prelude to its assumption of the role of His Majesty's Opposition.

1963), studies the conversion of intellectuals to Socialism in this period and in the 1920'S. 51 CHAPTER IV The MacDonald Leadership (19 22-3 1 ) ( 1 ) THE years 1922-31 were the years of Ramsay MacDonald's leadership of the Labour Party. The very concept of 'leadership' was something of a novelty: but MacDonald was a leader in a sense that none of his predecessors in the party chairmanship (including himself before the war) had been. From 1922 he was described as not just the 'chairman' of the parliamentary party but as its 'chairman and leader'.

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