Jeremy Nuttall

in Psychological Socialism

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780719071645
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701539 | DOI:

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This chapter argues that few, if any, of the Labour Party's leading politicians during the period 1964–1979 systematically applied the values of principle and intellect to politics, elevating them above personal ambition, enjoyment of the political ‘game’ or (at times narrow) party allegiance. The elevation of personal political ambition and political manoeuvre by Labour politicians could mean that they were themselves contributing to the maintenance of the very same ‘middling’ as opposed to best or ‘ideal’ motives they were theoretically committed, through socialism, to seeking to supersede. Both Labour and the wider society were ‘complicit’ in maintaining the culture of ‘middling’ motives. Moral deprivation within the party was accompanied by intellectual deprivation. Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan, Labour's two Prime Ministers of the 1964–1979 era, fitted in important ways into one category of attitude to the role of principle and intellect in politics, that of ‘fixerist realism’. For all the radical potential inherent in the idea of acquired intelligence, education and the education portfolio remained an ultimately secondary concern for the Labour Party.

Keywords: Labour Party; principle; intellect; politics; middling; moral deprivation; Harold Wilson; Jim Callaghan; fixerist realism; education

Chapter.  14732 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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