Tuesday, 27 February 2007

The British Labour Party

The Labour Party has been, since its founding on February 27th 1900, the principal political party of the left in the United Kingdom. It is currently the party of government in the United Kingdom and in the Scottish Parliament (in coalition with the Scottish Liberal Democrats), Welsh Assembly and the London mayoralty (although only the second largest grouping on the London Assembly). It is also the second largest party in Local Government and the second largest UK party in the European Parliament.

Labour won a landslide 179 seat majority in the 1997 general election under the leadership of Tony Blair—its first general election victory since October 1974 and the first general election since 1970 in which it had exceeded 40% of the popular vote. The Labour Party's large majority in the House of Commons was slightly reduced to 167 in the 2001 general election and more substantially reduced to 66 in 2005.

The Labour Party grew out of the trade union movement and socialist political parties of the 19th century, and continues to describe itself as a party of democratic socialism. Under Tony Blair's leadership, however, the party has adopted a number of Thatcherite policies following its failures in the general elections of 1979, 1983, 1987 and 1992; this has led many observers to describe the Labour Party as social democratic or neo-liberal rather than democratic socialist. Wikipedia: