Both Documents one and two agree that the LRC was a party for the working class.
Document one, the LRC’s 1906 manifesto tells us, “The House of Commons is supposed to be the people’s House and yet the people are not there. Landlords, employers, lawyers, brewers and financiers are there in force. Why not Labour? ” and Document two says, “Judging by its MPs, it was overwhelmingly a party of, as well as for, the working class”. It is clear from their 1906 manifesto that the LRC wanted all of the working class to join together to get the “people” into government.
The party made a direct appeal to the millions of workers in Britain to rise up and take control of their own destiny, “The Labour Representation Committee Executive appeals to you in the name of a million trade unionists to forget all political differences which have kept you apart in the past”. Document two also mentions the trade unionists, “it was also apparent that some trade unionists distrusted the intellectual tastes and refined manners of many in the ILP. ” It appears that the two documents have a different view on the support of the trade unionists.Document one seems to suggest that the trade unions fully back the LRC, whilst Document two indicates that many trade unionists were distrusting of them.
I think at first the LRC needed to gain the working class’ trust, but when they did, they had the majority of their support. It is clear from both Documents that the LRC are trying to get into government. At this point I must look at the nature of Document one. It is the LRC’s manifesto, written by them at the time.
From this I deduce it is likely the Document is biased.It would have been written in the view of persuading people to vote for the LRC. However, I cannot discount it altogether as it tells us what the LRC were aiming to do and change, “Wars are fought to make the rich richer and the underfed school children are still being neglected”. This was clearly one of the issues that the LRC hoped to change and improve if they managed to get into government.
The passage is littered with phrases like this, which are designed to make the working class vote for the LRC in the belief that they will change things for the better.Document two refers to the, “restoration of the legal protection which the Taff Vale Judgement demolished, the improvement of working conditions and the engineering of a labour market in which wage earners would be less insecure. ” These are undoubtedly more concerns that the LRC hoped would convince people to vote for them. This also shows that the LRC were campaigning about up to date, current topics.
These, as is said earlier, are all aimed at the working class. The politics that are mentioned in Document one are similar to that of the new Liberals’ social reforms.In this period Lloyd George thought it necessary to improve social conditions. The growing awareness of the unacceptable poverty, through the surveys of Booth and Rowntree, led to the increased role of Liberal State intervention.
This drive for national efficiency and growing awareness of the unacceptable poverty created a climate where the new Liberalism could flourish. Document one shows the LRC thinking about the same problems as the new Liberals, “dealing with the land, housing, old age and other social problems. “Document two doesn’t mention the LRC’s social reforms policies but instead concentrates more on “Labourism”. It was more important for the party to protect the more immediate and tangible interests of the working class.
.. This ideological position was called ‘labourism’” (Document two). This led the party to campaign against things such as the Taff Vale Judgement and Chinese slavery.
The Taff Vale Judgement stated that trade unionists could be made to pay for any losses caused to the employer through industrial action. Also, the majority of working class people were worried that Chinese slaves would be brought to the United Kingdom and that their jobs would be taken from them as the Chinese would work for extremely low pay.These issues would be strongly opposed by most of the working class. Document one does not mention “labourism”.
In conclusion, I would say, overall, the LRC was a party for, and made up of the working class. When comparing them to the Liberals and the changing political cleavage it is clear why they later became one of the two largest parties in the United Kingdom. It is also evident that because they were campaigning against modern issues, unlike the Liberals, it would be very difficult for them to become obsolete as the Liberals later did.