By Henry Pelling (auth.)
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Extra resources for A Short History of the Labour Party
If a split were to come owing to the oppressive use of the block vote of some of the larger unions, I would do what I could to form a new Labour combination for political purposes.! As it happened, however, - or was this Henderson's deliberate stage-management? - the proposal had only come up after the election of the Executive members for the following year; and by 19 I 8, as we shall see, the political situation had entirely changed, so that the use of the block vote became far from' oppressive', at least in the sense that MacDonald wished to imply.
Brought to the party many of the able young Liberals who had opposed the war and had then despaired of their own divided party. ' At the same time, it had become obvious that the parliamentary leaders had won their place in the Coalition not because of their numbers in the House but because of the strength of the industrial movement with which they were linked. C. and of the unions to participate in various types of political action, which became evident for the first time in 1917, remained after the end of the war, and expanded into a threat of direct industrial action for political ends.
Union members were to be allowed to contract out of paying the contributions for political purposes if they desired to do so, simply by making a written statement of their intention. Opponents of the Labour Party in the Commons did not like this arrangement, as they felt that union members would be subject to intimidation to prevent them from contracting out. They suggested instead that union members should be regarded as non-contributors to the political fund unless they actually contracted in.