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The Labour Governments 1964–70 volume 1Labour and Cultural Change$
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Steven Fielding

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780719043642

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719043642.001.0001

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Responding to affluence

Responding to affluence

(p.61) 3 Responding to affluence
The Labour Governments 1964–70 volume 1

Steven Fielding

Manchester University Press

This chapter analyses the contrasting ways in which members understood post-war affluence, to establish the ideological and organisational state in which the party entered office in 1964. It examines the development of Labour strategy between 1959 and 1966 and highlights the debate it provoked, as this revealed how members thought their party should best respond to change. Hugh Gaitskell and his successor assumed — just like many other contemporaries — that rising incomes had restructured society and that popular political attitudes had changed in step. As a consequence, they believed Labour had to reform itself, in particular, how it communicated with key parts of the electorate: less stress was placed on the need to alter the party's organisation and policies. How far this approach contributed to Labour's 1964 and 1966 victories is moot.

Keywords:   post-war affluence, Labour Party, Labour policies, cultural change, Hugh Gaitskell

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