George Lansbury

Left leaders before Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn is not the first leader of the Labour Party to have supported strikes and opposed war. Keir Hardie, who had himself been victimised for trade union activity, had a record of supporting workers in struggle and condemning government repression. In 1911 Hardie had written a devastating indictment of the Liberal government’s repression in Wales, Killing No Murder, condemning the shooting dead of two workers by troops.

Poplar 1921: Guilty and Proud of It

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Keith Flett explains how the Poplar councillors in the 1920s took on the government.

We know Old Labour as being a bit more principled and usually a bit more to the left than Blair's New Labour. We don't think of Old Labour as a party that organises street theatre and film and sees women as activists rather than 'wives'. Yet this is exactly what happened in Poplar in the East End of London in the 1920s, and the example still speaks down the years to those who voted in Respect in East London on 5 May.

Poplar Idol

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Review of 'George Lansbury', John Shepherd, Oxford University Press, £35

George Lansbury was one of the most popular figures on the left of the Labour Party. Consequently he is still patronised and reviled by newspaper columnists, and Historian AJP Taylor claimed Lansbury's Lido on the Serpentine was the only lasting achievement of the 1929 Labour government. Given that the current government will leave the derelict Dome as its only memorial, Lansbury's open air swimming pool looks more impressive.

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