Labour and the Countryside: The Politics of Rural Britain 1918-1939

Hardcover | June 10, 2007

byClare V. J. Griffiths

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The common reputation of the British Labour Party has always been as 'a thing of the town', an essentially urban phenomenon which has failed to engage with the rural electorate or identify itself with rural issues. Yet during the inter-war years, Labour viewed the countryside as a crucialelectoral battleground - even claiming that the party could never form a majority administration without winning a significant number of seats across rural Britain. Committing itself to a series of campaigns in rural areas during the 1920s and 30s, Labour developed a rural and often specificallyagricultural programme on which to attract new support and members. Labour and the Countryside takes this forgotten chapter in the party's history as a starting point for a fascinating and wide-ranging re-examination of the relationship between the British Left and rural Britain. The first account of this aspect of Labour's history, this book draws on extensive research across a wide variety of original source material, from local party minutes and trade union archives to the records of Labour's first two periods in government. Historical, literary, and visualrepresentations of the countryside are also examined, along with newspapers, magazines, and propaganda materials. In reconstructing the contexts within which Labour attempted to redefine itself as a voice for the countryside, the resulting study presents a fresh perspective on the political historyof the inter-war years.

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The common reputation of the British Labour Party has always been as 'a thing of the town', an essentially urban phenomenon which has failed to engage with the rural electorate or identify itself with rural issues. Yet during the inter-war years, Labour viewed the countryside as a crucialelectoral battleground - even claiming that the ...

Clare V. J. Griffiths is a Lecturer in Modern History, University of Sheffield.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:420 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.18 inPublished:June 10, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199287430

ISBN - 13:9780199287437

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Table of Contents

Introduction: an electoral problemPOLITICAL LANDSCAPES1. Dispossession: rural histories on the Left2. Voters in a landscape3. Rural idyllsTHE RURAL LABOUR MOVEMENT4. Campaigning in the countryside5. The rural Labour parties6. Trade unionism in rural areasPLANNING THE FUTURE7. Policies for agriculture8. Labour and the farmers9. A land for the peopleConclusion: reclaiming the ground?Appendices