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MacDonald's PartyLabour Identities and Crisis 1922-1931$
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David Howell

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203049

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203049.001.0001

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The Discreet Limits of Loyalism

The Discreet Limits of Loyalism

(p.155) CHAPTER TEN The Discreet Limits of Loyalism
MacDonald's Party

David Howell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The National Union of General and Municipal Workers (NUGMW) was the most conformist of all the trade union affiliates of the Labour Party. In normal circumstances its block vote — 201,000 in 1925 and 250,000 five years later — was cast on the side of ‘moderation’ and ‘common sense’. Such predictability did not indicate any lack of interest in politics. In its own terms, the NUGMW was a highly political union in Britain; its support for the party leadership was not unconditional. The union was the product of a protracted amalgamation process that reached fruition during 1924. At the time of amalgamation, the NUGMW was dominated by two men who had administered the union from the earliest days and whose industrial work was complemented by political involvements: Will Thorne and J. R. Clynes. Although two NUGMW officials, Clynes and Margaret Bondfield, sat in the 1929 Cabinet, this did not inhibit the union from keenly pursuing its objectives within a general framework of loyalism.

Keywords:   National Union of General and Municipal Workers, Britain, Labour Party, politics, loyalism, Will Thorne, J. R. Clynes

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