Chapter

Responding to affluence

Steven Fielding

in The Labour Governments 1964–70 volume 1

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780719043642
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700327 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719043642.003.0003
Responding to affluence

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This chapter analyses the contrasting ways in which members understood post-war affluence, to establish the ideological and organisational state in which the party entered office in 1964. It examines the development of Labour strategy between 1959 and 1966 and highlights the debate it provoked, as this revealed how members thought their party should best respond to change. Hugh Gaitskell and his successor assumed — just like many other contemporaries — that rising incomes had restructured society and that popular political attitudes had changed in step. As a consequence, they believed Labour had to reform itself, in particular, how it communicated with key parts of the electorate: less stress was placed on the need to alter the party's organisation and policies. How far this approach contributed to Labour's 1964 and 1966 victories is moot.

Keywords: post-war affluence; Labour Party; Labour policies; cultural change; Hugh Gaitskell

Chapter.  11287 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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