“Traditional socialist ideas have rarely been reflected in Labour’s policies in government.”
In order to make a relevant conclusion on whether socialist ideas have been reflected in Labour’s policies, it is necessary to establish the formation of the socialist ideology and how it became interconnected with the Labour Party.
Socialism first arose from what was widely viewed as astounding inequality brought about by the unrestrained capitalism of the Industrial Revolution. Throughout the late eighteenth and nineteenth century living standards dropped significantly. A vast majority of the population shifted from producing food in the countryside, to working in industries such as coal and steel. Records obtained from the time of the Industrial Revolution stated the average life expectancy of a man, was a mere nineteen years. However, it was not the entire population which suffered such dire living conditions, the Industrial Revolution sparked vast inequality. The factory owners and those which owned the means of production were becoming richer whilst living conditions for the working class became progressively worse.
However, the workers did not lie down and accept the inequality. They began forming trade unions and began discussing ways in which business in the UK could be conducted better, in a way which would see the population benefit as a whole instead of a minority. These were the first signs of socialist ideas forming.
Socialism is viewed as the alternative to capitalism as it strives for equality as it argues a society can achieve more through collective actions rather than acting alone, motivated by personal gain. The main things socialists strive for are things such as, equal share of wealth, an end to the exploitation of workers, making the job of the government and the communities to helping those less fortunate, raising education and health standards across the whole of the UK rather than just the higher classes and they also strive for a better organisation of society through adherent government planning.
However, before the formation of the Labour Party, those with socialist views found expressing them difficult, as many protestors found themselves either imprisoned and even some deported. So when the Labour Party formed in early nineteen hundreds, initially led by Keir Hardy it was much awaited by the working class, which it would fundamentally be representing. The ideology of socialism was the key to the forming of the Labour Party, it gave millions of working class a voice and subsequently trade unions became more powerful.
The Labour Party adopted many of the socialist policies and put them into action under the leadership of Clement Attlee, who came to power after a landslide victory against the Conservative Party. Socialists believed that large scale industries should be under state control, Attlee began nationalising major industries including; The Bank of England, the steel industry, gas and railways. Another...