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Effects of a Labour Representation Committee Collapse?

Time Enough

Civil Rights Cowboy
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#1
The Labour Representation Committee of 1899-1900 was the forbear to the Labour Party we all know and love. But it had a wobbly start mainly due to certain sections of TUC believing that a Party would damage there negotiating ability and also similar elements disliking the radicalism of groups like the ILP. It isn’t hard to imagine the wobbly beginnings of the LRC collapsing instead of carrying onto be the Labour Party.

But what would the effect of the collaspe be? Would we see the ILP competing the Liberals in the future for the Left Wing vote? Maybe a more Left Wing organisation is created in the 1910s, a coalition of groups like the ILP and SDF (without Henry Hyndman due to him likely wanting the SDF to continue being under him) with the more Radical Trade Unions?

You could see the Lib-Lab elements staying stronger for longer though the relationship would probably hit a dead end eventually over something like Free-Trade or whatever.
 

Nyvis

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#2
Moderate trade unions remaining outside party politics while the ILP build among the radicals would make sense.

You could end up with a solid three party systems with the moderate trade unions leaning Liberal even if they don't officially take stances? But yeah free trade is going to be a problem. Maybe even red/populist Tories appealing to the unions who refuse to deal with the ILP?
 

Time Enough

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#3
You could end up with a solid three party systems with the moderate trade unions leaning Liberal even if they don't officially take stances? But yeah free trade is going to be a problem. Maybe even red/populist Tories appealing to the unions who refuse to deal with the ILP?
I can see Red Tories trying to bring the Moderate Unions in to the Conservative sphere at least to try and gain there votes (given how many Trade Unions were Socially Conservative in nature this could work quite well).

I wonder where the Fabians would be? I could see them becoming the Left Wing of the Liberals, working alongside the Radical Liberals like Wedgwood-Benn.
 

Nyvis

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#4
I can see Red Tories trying to bring the Moderate Unions in to the Conservative sphere at least to try and gain there votes (given how many Trade Unions were Socially Conservative in nature this could work quite well).

I wonder where the Fabians would be? I could see them becoming the Left Wing of the Liberals, working alongside the Radical Liberals like Wedgwood-Benn.
Left wing of the liberals would work very well and could explain how the liberals retain their status as a main party by having a radical wing that can appeal to the broad center left down the line rather than dropping to a party of local interests. And they can appeal to people who aren't really into the unions' sphere but want left of center politics. Maybe the Fabians could outright be the liberals' future? At least in coalition with their local and rural wing.

I'd expect British union politics to end up quite different here. With the moderate and radicals split, you don't get the same power right away, but unions won't also go down the doomed path of asking for wage increases forever in spite of ballooning inflation. The ILP is likely to head the radical unions towards a more outright socialist answer while the moderate unions will probably settle into a less confrontational stance focusing on bargaining without strikes and lobbying sympathetic politicians.
 

Time Enough

Civil Rights Cowboy
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#5
Left wing of the liberals would work very well and could explain how the liberals retain their status as a main party by having a radical wing that can appeal to the broad center left down the line rather than dropping to a party of local interests. And they can appeal to people who aren't really into the unions' sphere but want left of center politics. Maybe the Fabians could outright be the liberals' future? At least in coalition with their local and rural wing.
I could see that, I know Sidney Webb did work with the Liberals when he was working with the Progressive Party so I could see that. I could see the faction being prominent and being the parties future, and maybe it could allow them to keep hold of some of the cities (especially if the Fabians align with the Municipal Socialists in the cities and bring them in to the Liberals fold). Also it would mean that ideas like Keynesian economics would probably have a more firm base to spread from.
I'd expect British union politics to end up quite different here. With the moderate and radicals split, you don't get the same power right away, but unions won't also go down the doomed path of asking for wage increases forever in spite of ballooning inflation. The ILP is likely to head the radical unions towards a more outright socialist answer while the moderate unions will probably settle into a less confrontational stance focusing on bargaining without strikes and lobbying sympathetic politicians.
Yeah I could see that, the ILP with the more Radical Unions in tow could become not just Socialist but more Syndicalist in nature depending on how events in Europe go. Also a more free ILP means they could pick up more off the wall ideas like Social Credit and other things like what happened with the Labour Parties in other Anglophone countries. I could see the ILP working with the Cooperative Movement as well given how some of there aims align.

Meanwhile yeah, I can see the Moderate Trade Unions doing that, I can also see them funding the occasional independent Trade Union Parliamentary candidate or mixed candidate depending on the Union or Area there from, to make sure there have some representation. Of course I could see a split within the Moderate Trade Unions as well between the Craft Unions and the Industrial Unions as well in time.
 

Nyvis

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#6
I could see that, I know Sidney Webb did work with the Liberals when he was working with the Progressive Party so I could see that. I could see the faction being prominent and being the parties future, and maybe it could allow them to keep hold of some of the cities (especially if the Fabians align with the Municipal Socialists in the cities and bring them in to the Liberals fold). Also it would mean that ideas like Keynesian economics would probably have a more firm base to spread from.
Some sort of cooperative/common wealth angle for the rest of the liberals too, maybe?

There's also the possibility for a technocratic Keynesian angle. On the other hand, maybe that's something for the red Tories backed by conservative unions? I could see something akin to France's Gaullist approach to the economy, with a very involved government from the right.

We could end up with a situation where every party has a wing of MPs beholden to some unions and working class interests, leading to a very different economic consensus.

Of course, how well that holds as the post 1970s shocks of OTL hit is going to be interesting. Some kind of neoliberalism and austerity seem to be what happens as the rate of profit decline and social democracy becomes unsustainable, but if you built your economy differently and unions are dispersed everywhere without a single party not beholden to them and willing to break them up decisively like Thatcher did, the decay may be a slowed one like France's rather than the abrupt British shift. Or more radical labour politics from the ILP and more original economic thoughts from the liberals may also lead things in a different direction.

Yeah I could see that, the ILP with the more Radical Unions in tow could become not just Socialist but more Syndicalist in nature depending on how events in Europe go. Also a more free ILP means they could pick up more off the wall ideas like Social Credit and other things like what happened with the Labour Parties in other Anglophone countries. I could see the ILP working with the Cooperative Movement as well given how some of there aims align.
Going from "more wages, fuck inflation" to "maybe we should run the factories ourselves" is going to drastically alter the nature of union politics here. They could easily end up unrecognizable to the moderates who didn't follow to the ILP.

Meanwhile yeah, I can see the Moderate Trade Unions doing that, I can also see them funding the occasional independent Trade Union Parliamentary candidate or mixed candidate depending on the Union or Area there from, to make sure there have some representation. Of course I could see a split within the Moderate Trade Unions as well between the Craft Unions and the Industrial Unions as well in time.
Yeah for sure, those really aren't that compatible in the end and welding them together has always been unwieldy. I could see the craft unions running around with the liberals? Some sort of soft left for more well off workers. The moderate industrial unions are likely to split between apolitical bargain machines and the ones palling around with the red Tories.


I'm also wondering about what the consequences for Ireland could be. How are the shifted parties going to attempt answering the question?
 

Time Enough

Civil Rights Cowboy
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#7
Some sort of cooperative/common wealth angle for the rest of the liberals too, maybe?

There's also the possibility for a technocratic Keynesian angle. On the other hand, maybe that's something for the red Tories backed by conservative unions? I could see something akin to France's Gaullist approach to the economy, with a very involved government from the right
Hmm, I’m wondering depending on which faction of the Liberals is Power is depends on who they enter coalition with. Like the Fabians decide that they would partner up with there slightly ideologically similar ILP for a coalition, whilst the Commonwealth/Muncipalists lean more Cooperative Party in terms of Coalition Partners.

As for the Red Tories and the Unions, I could see a lean in this scenario towards a Socially Conservative, Pro Business/Pro Trade Union Tory Party. Maybe you could see the Tories as opposed to a Welfare state and minimum wages from a Trade Union perspective. As I could see them also supporting Protectionism and Limited Immigration more.
Of course, how well that holds as the post 1970s shocks of OTL hit is going to be interesting. Some kind of neoliberalism and austerity seem to be what happens as the rate of profit decline and social democracy becomes unsustainable, but if you built your economy differently and unions are dispersed everywhere without a single party not beholden to them and willing to break them up decisively like Thatcher did, the decay may be a slowed one like France's rather than the abrupt British shift. Or more radical labour politics from the ILP and more original economic thoughts from the liberals may also lead things in a different direction.
I do think we’d probably still see a Welfare State emerge anyway and with it the good and bad that is brought. I do think the infusion of radical and different economic ideas would probably mean we wouldn’t get a Thatcher style situation.
Going from "more wages, fuck inflation" to "maybe we should run the factories ourselves" is going to drastically alter the nature of union politics here. They could easily end up unrecognizable to the moderates who didn't follow to the ILP.
We could see a divide between something like the Wobblies and ALF-CIO in otl as you have one side going ‘We should own the factories’ and the others going ‘We just want our Labour paid a fair wage’.
Yeah for sure, those really aren't that compatible in the end and welding them together has always been unwieldy. I could see the craft unions running around with the liberals? Some sort of soft left for more well off workers. The moderate industrial unions are likely to split between apolitical bargain machines and the ones palling around with the red Tories.
Yeah, pretty much that. I could see the Craft Unions being firmly Lib-Lab as time goes on and other songs desert for the Tories or ILP.
I'm also wondering about what the consequences for Ireland could be. How are the shifted parties going to attempt answering the question?
Tories and Liberals would probably still be bickering about home rule and unionism. Meanwhile the ILP would be split between those who endorse it out of the sense that a Irish Socialist Republic could be formed, whilst others considering it being against the Internationalist concept of Socialism. Of course I could see folks like James Connolly being involved in a Syndicalist ILP and all that.
 

Nyvis

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#8
I do think we’d probably still see a Welfare State emerge anyway and with it the good and bad that is brought. I do think the infusion of radical and different economic ideas would probably mean we wouldn’t get a Thatcher style situation.
You could get a Sweden style union powered welfare state as opposed to the nationalized one, maybe, which ends up more resilient the same way Sweden's did.

An ILP government could try what the Sweden Social Democrats wanted to attempt, with gradual socialization of the economy.

We could see a divide between something like the Wobblies and ALF-CIO in otl as you have one side going ‘We should own the factories’ and the others going ‘We just want our Labour paid a fair wage’.
I was thinking of the CGT vs CFDT in France, actually. The IWW was always more of a party in union clothing than anything. Though considering the ILP is a party, that's pretty apt too.

Tories and Liberals would probably still be bickering about home rule and unionism. Meanwhile the ILP would be split between those who endorse it out of the sense that a Irish Socialist Republic could be formed, whilst others considering it being against the Internationalist concept of Socialism. Of course I could see folks like James Connolly being involved in a Syndicalist ILP and all that.
I could see the ILP having a strong Irish wing among both immigrant workers and the more radical Irish politicians, and that should probably steer them away from a reductionist stance. On the other hand Ireland is still largely agrarian. I wonder if they could stumble upon earlier concepts of national liberation, and maybe advocate an alliance of the proletariat and poor peasantry the way Leninists would? Self ruling Ireland within a socialist federation could be their line.

Maybe a Lib-ILP coalition end up passing home rule at some point?


Two out of three coalitions being the normal way governments form would also be interesting to explore.
 

Time Enough

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#9
You could get a Sweden style union powered welfare state as opposed to the nationalized one, maybe, which ends up more resilient the same way Sweden's did
Interesting, I could see the Liberals being fond of that, mainly as a way to avoid having to Nationalise everything, though I could see this idea clashing hard with the Fabians.
An ILP government could try what the Sweden Social Democrats wanted to attempt, with gradual socialization of the economy.
I could see that, I could see the ILP dividing between the Syndicalist camps and the Guild Socialist/Market Socialist campaigns with both working to socialise the economy. Probably be more practical than the whole complete Nationalisation business.
Self ruling Ireland within a socialist federation could be their line.
Yeah, could see that as the line. The only problem is some members of the ILP weren’t fond of the Irish because of there roots as labourers competing with Irish Immigrants. Though they seem like the types to join whatever Henry Hyndman eventually concocts as he starts blathering on about ‘National Socialism’ and all that.
Two out of three coalitions being the normal way governments form would also be interesting to explore.
With more divided parties and all that I could see the creation of alternative voting in time if the Liberals get to stay around longer and Coalitions being the norm in time. With the Liberals aligning with Left Wing Parties usually whilst the Conservatives align with Nationalist elements more. I could see the third (usually Left Wing) party spheres being divided between the ILP, Cooperative Party, some form of Nationalist Imperialist Party and probably the Communist British Socialist Party.
 

Nyvis

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#10
Interesting, I could see the Liberals being fond of that, mainly as a way to avoid having to Nationalise everything, though I could see this idea clashing hard with the Fabians.
Yeah, that'd be an interesting conundrum. I wonder if it could end up scattering the Fabians across the aisle if the liberal left end up more cooperative than state socialist.

I could see that, I could see the ILP dividing between the Syndicalist camps and the Guild Socialist/Market Socialist campaigns with both working to socialise the economy. Probably be more practical than the whole complete Nationalisation business.
I could see a more Marxist left extirpating the ghost of Lassalean socialism, yes. Considering the ILP would be out of government more often than in, I can't see them being in love with nationalization. I think with radical industrial unions in tow, syndicalism would be favoured over market socialism though. That's probably more something for the left fringe of the liberals or a cooperative party? But of course that wing of the liberals could be people the ILP has to deal with to form a government.

It'd be interesting if the two out of three parties style of government comes with split etiquette, say, national liberal + tory or socialist liberal + ILP governments, before merging back in as the needs to prop up a government fade.

Yeah, could see that as the line. The only problem is some members of the ILP weren’t fond of the Irish because of there roots as labourers competing with Irish Immigrants. Though they seem like the types to join whatever Henry Hyndman eventually concocts as he starts blathering on about ‘National Socialism’ and all that.
I could see the more orthodox members hounding them out at they get accused to be red Tories. Though that could also be interesting, a disastrous Red Tory government with backing from more anti immigrant defectors from the ILP could be what kills them off in the end?

With more divided parties and all that I could see the creation of alternative voting in time if the Liberals get to stay around longer and Coalitions being the norm in time. With the Liberals aligning with Left Wing Parties usually whilst the Conservatives align with Nationalist elements more. I could see the third (usually Left Wing) party spheres being divided between the ILP, Cooperative Party, some form of Nationalist Imperialist Party and probably the Communist British Socialist Party.
1900s is early enough to radically alter the development of the international left so I'm not sure the ILP will have to contend with a 3rd internationale aligned communist party. The ILP is probably too radical for the decaying second internationale anyway, and I could see them taking a hard anti imperialist slaughter line during alt-WW1 (assuming that's inevitable in some form) while a national government of Tories and Liberals prosecute it. While Nationalist Imperialist Party could just be the extreme wing of the red Tories.

Though alternative voting would alter things drastically and probably blow up the three parties system. Maybe that could be something to spice things up later on? The ILP probably doesn't need it originally, since far left areas would be concentrated around workplaces with radical unions enough to win FPTP seats originally. Could be something they agree to support a liberal government over once the dispersal of the left hits them.

What form would it take? Ranked choice seem too modern? Maybe two rounds voting in the French way? Or compensated PR in the German style? Potentially regional full PR is an option too. Or multi member constituencies like modern Ireland does?
 

AlfieJ

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#11
One major thing that hasn't been mentioned here so far is the Fabian idea of permeation, i.e. joining multiple parties in order to influence policy, not just one. Without the appeal of the LRC you could see the general statist, gradualist philosophy of the early Fabians both remaining in the Liberal Party, cropping up in a more-radical ILP/SDF outfit, AND ending up in the Tories.
 
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The Red

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#12
One major thing that hasn't been mentioned here so far is the Fabian idea of permeation, i.e. joining multiple parties in order to influence policy, not just one. Without the appeal of the LRC you could say the general statist, gradualist philosophy of the early Fabians both remaining in the Liberal Party, cropping up in a more-radical ILP/SDF outfit, AND ending up in the Tories.
I feel like Fabian entryism into the Tory party should have been a vignette by now.
 

Nyvis

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#14
One major thing that hasn't been mentioned here so far is the Fabian idea of permeation, i.e. joining multiple parties in order to influence policy, not just one. Without the appeal of the LRC you could see the general statist, gradualist philosophy of the early Fabians both remaining in the Liberal Party, cropping up in a more-radical ILP/SDF outfit, AND ending up in the Tories.
Fabians trying to take advantage of more pro labour Tories to peddle their state based solutions seem like it would fit all right here. I mentioned a technocratic keynesian approach too earlier and that could be people they find common ground with.

Something like Mosley's economic plans look like what that chimera could look like?

I don't think it would fit well with the ILP though, they're way too gradualist for it, I think.
 

Time Enough

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#15
One major thing that hasn't been mentioned here so far is the Fabian idea of permeation, i.e. joining multiple parties in order to influence policy, not just one. Without the appeal of the LRC you could see the general statist, gradualist philosophy of the early Fabians both remaining in the Liberal Party, cropping up in a more-radical ILP/SDF outfit, AND ending up in the Tories.
God, I could see the Liberals and Tories being infested by Fabian’s but maybe not the ILP (unless there more like the Second Generation Fabians like G.D.H Cole but probably not). But god, Fabians in the Tories is so bizarre but rather logical given how the Tories didn’t really have much of a set ideology for much of it’s span.
Something like Mosley's economic plans look like what that chimera could look like?
Maybe, Corporatism vs. Technocratic Keynesian could be the battle for the Tories vs. Liberals. That would be fascinating and bizarre.
I could see the more orthodox members hounding them out at they get accused to be red Tories. Though that could also be interesting, a disastrous Red Tory government with backing from more anti immigrant defectors from the ILP could be what kills them off in the end?
Could be, seeing some of the National Socialist supporting the Tories wouldn’t be surprising. A lot of those types were incredibly Nationalistic compared to sections of the ILP who were internationalist in tone.
It'd be interesting if the two out of three parties style of government comes with split etiquette, say, national liberal + tory or socialist liberal + ILP governments, before merging back in as the needs to prop up a government fade.
I could see that, as time goes on and more third parties gain more seats this would probably happen. Unlike Otl where the balance of power has often been two major parties, this one would probably be more fluid.
Though alternative voting would alter things drastically and probably blow up the three parties system. Maybe that could be something to spice things up later on? The ILP probably doesn't need it originally, since far left areas would be concentrated around workplaces with radical unions enough to win FPTP seats originally. Could be something they agree to support a liberal government over once the dispersal of the left hits them.

What form would it take? Ranked choice seem too modern? Maybe two rounds voting in the French way? Or compensated PR in the German style? Potentially regional full PR is an option too. Or multi member constituencies like modern Ireland does?
The ILP would probably support in time if it means they get to spend some time in Government in some way, probably around about the 30s maybe? I could maybe see the alternative voting system being like either the Irish method or being like the German method. Probably be easier to implement in nation like Britain.
 
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Nyvis

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#16
I could see that, as time goes on and more third parties gain more seats this would probably happen. Unlike Otl where the balance of power has often been two major parties, this one would probably be more fluid.
I was assuming it would be a Liberal/Tory/ILP split with smaller parties gravitating around one or the other if they exist.

The ILP would probably support in time if it means they get to spend some time in Government in some way, probably around about the 30s maybe? I could maybe see the alternative voting system being like either the Irish method or being like the German method. Probably be easier to implement in nation like Britain.
Yeah a system where the negotiations are made after being elected rather than before in big tents or electoral deals would probably help maintain the ILP if its voter base get more diversified than concentrated, which will happen as industry move away from the coal and factory concentration.

Hmm, I wonder if the ILP would also support regional assemblies, probably along with the liberals? I could see them having a strong ability to get in power and stay there in regional areas but rarely be the party of national government. With less devolved power, that means they're done for, as the national government keeps the tools they'd need to maintain the health of their base, but with more devolved powers, they could work to keep their working class communities running better than OTL.

OTL is really an indictment of the Labour attempts at state based solutions and how easily the right could turn back the clock on working class politics once it got back in power. I could see the ILP being wiser to it.

I do remember hearing the councils' ability to function got eroded because some of them tried to maintain a bit too much of a leftist line with the means they had. One big problem is taxation and funding. It's possible that could be devolved and help maintain a healthier local system the national government can't firesale down the line to destroy its opposition.

Though that's quite far from the initial pod, a lot can happen in between.
 
#17
In the long term , if the LRC split occurs and we do not get a united Labour Party as of 1900-14 it would be even easier to get a major split that lasted between the rival factions over major idealistic questions of World War One such as :
1. is it right to join in an imperialist war or should we try to keep up links with the Socialist International opposition to it,even among the German and Austrian members? Those who back this line would then be attacked by Horatio Bottomley and co. in the press as 'traitors', as he set on Ramsay Macdonald in real life, and any Labour faction that joined or (if they had been allied to and supporting the Liberals since 1905 and had ministers in govt) stayed in the wartime govt would be 'blacklisted' by the anti-war socialists.
The likeliest Labour faction to join in the Liberal govt in 1905 ff or join the Coalition in 1914-15 would be the Henderson-Clynes wing that got jobs from the Coalition at various times during the war in OTL but were not so reviled by the 'pacifist left' after it to prevent their reunion with the Macdonald group in 1921-22 in OTL. But if the split is more bitter, is this reconciliation impossible?

2. An exacerbation of this split in and after the conscription crisis in 1916-17, or if the socialist anti-war 'left' veered off to back Lenin in pulling Russia out of the war in spring 1918. The same effects as in 1.
3. The pro-Bolshevik (or at any rate anti-Allied intervention in Russia 1918-19) grouping in Labour shoring up their appeal to the discontented dockers, railwaymen etc in the 1919 labour unrest - and seeking to keep an monopoly of voter and funding support for themselves and away from the 'moderates' - by backing more extreme tactics and stopping the loading of armaments onto ships destined for Russia. So we get a closer analogy to 1926 in 1919, and this widens the Labour split and forces the 'patriotic' moderates to cling onto the Coalition to save their seats and govt jobs? (If they dont get put on a 'coupon' for the next election as an approved Coalition candidate, they will face both a Liberal or a Tory candidate from their right and a Socialist Labour one from the left and be annihilated.)

By extension, does this sort of development lead to a Labour 'rump' of moderates in the Liberal camp, officially or not , in the 1923 election so there is a larger Liberal (and allies) number of seats and in Jan 1924 it is the then Liberal leader, Asquith (aged over 70 so arguably weakening and losing his touch), who becomes PM? How does he handle the various crises of 1924 ff, and does her have to retire soon due to exhaustion (and reliance on alcohol to cope with it??) and hand over to the more radical and energetic but distrusted Lloyd George? Can LG set up a viable economic recovery strategy with Fabian help, and introduce Keynesian / investment measures as he proposed slightly later in OTL? And avoid Churchill's OTL mistakes about the Gold Standard? Does the Lib-Lab coalition win re-election in 1928 or 1929, or break up over distrust of LG's dodgy financial reputation as Baldwin poses as 'Mr Clean'? Or can Macdonald reunite the Labour party by getting the 'moderates' to abandon LG as too sleazy, too fond of big industry, or too tough in facing down the General Strike and claiming that UK cannot afford to put up the miners' pay?
 

Nyvis

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#18
Well, if the radicals gravitate towards the ILP, the split is likely impossible to heal and the spat over the war will make that clear to anyone.

I think by that point you can't really follow OTL events either. For example, how would a call to general strike look like when you basically have two competing labour groups, one of which has been involved with government and the other strongly opposing it?
 

Time Enough

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#19
I think by that point you can't really follow OTL events either. For example, how would a call to general strike look like when you basically have two competing labour groups, one of which has been involved with government and the other strongly opposing it?
General Strikes would probably not be on the cards as often. Though I could still see like Industrial General Strikes, like all Coal Miners go on strike or things like the Railway Strikes.

I suspect a general strike could occur under a Conservative anti-Trade Unionist of some kind (an Eric Geddes figure) which caused the Tories to change there tune maybe.
 

Nyvis

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#20
Hmm, yeah, a strike that threatens to bring together everyone union influenced would be really scary in a world where that isn't the default. It would have to be over something pretty big though.