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The Scottish Labour PartyHistory, Institutions and Ideas$
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Gerry Hassan

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780748617845

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617845.001.0001

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The Labour Party in Scotland 1888–1945: Pragmatism and Principle

The Labour Party in Scotland 1888–1945: Pragmatism and Principle

(p.21) Chapter 2 The Labour Party in Scotland 1888–1945: Pragmatism and Principle
The Scottish Labour Party

Richard Finlay

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the often competing roles of pragmatism and ideology in the development of the Labour movement in Scotland between 1888 and 1945. In many ways this chimes in with much of the contemporary debate regarding the role of New Labour and to what extent it represents a fundamental break with not only the party's past but also its mainstream ideology. The debate as to whether Labour should be a party which represented a specific set of interests that were tied to its core constituency of the working class or whether it was an organization that was guided by a set of principles or ideology which gave coherence to a wider political vision has always been at the heart of Labour's historical development in Scotland, and for that matter, Britain's too. The main focus of the chapter is the reconciliation of political ideology with the promotion of working-class interests and the tensions which often arose between them.

Keywords:   pragmatism ideology, Labour movement, political parties, political ideology, working-class interests

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