Labour and India, 1942–7
This chapter examines the endgame of British decolonization in the light of the main themes of the book. It begins by returning to the theme of Labour's uneasy relationship with imperial governance. The removal of many of the obstacles to Labour's distinctive policymaking is analysed. It is argued that the material constraints on the Government's Indian policy forced it down a narrowing track to the solution adopted in 1947. That this was not Labour's preferred solution is shown by examining three forgotten alternatives: interest in sponsoring a rival to Congress; the Radical Democratic Party; the plans of Stafford Cripps and Ernest Bevin to use socio-economic development schemes in India to break Congress' hold over the Indian poor; and C. R. Attlee's desire to appeal over the heads of the Congress leaders to a new generation of supposedly less confrontational politicians. These solutions were set aside rather than abandoned through reflection, thereby achieving decolonization without the abandonment of Labour's traditionally-held ideas, beliefs, and assumptions.
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