Challenging 'Common Sense'

Gordon Marsden on the Independent Labour Party centenary.

One hundred years ago, on January 13th, 1893, around 120 delegates – mainly young working-class men from the industrial north and Scotland, but also including the Fabian activist and playwright, George Bernard Shaw – came to a conference at Bradford in Yorkshire presided over by Keir Hardie, who the year before had won a seat in Parliament as an ‘independent labour’ candidate. The organisation that conference launched – the Independent Labour Party – was in due course the driving force behind the body that became the British Labour Party of today. Now in its centenary year the ILP is not only organising the customary round of commemorative activities, hut also relaunching itself as a political pressure group.

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