How Labour Wins: (And Why It Loses) From 1900 to Now

How Labour Wins: (And Why It Loses) From 1900 to Now

By: Douglas Beattie

ISBN: 9781783968343
eBook ISBN: 9781783968350
Cover: Hardback
Published: August 22, 2024
Size: 235x156mm
Page Count: 352


A fascinating history of how the unfolding drama of each election from 1900 to 2024 has shaped the Labour Party and modern Britain.

This is an essential guide to how left-wing politics succeeds or fails through an accessible, highly readable and timely history of Labour’s performance in the 33 British General Elections since 1900. There have been 8 hung parliaments resulting in coalitions. Labour has won power 11 times; the Conservatives outright on 14 occasions. The final chapter of the book analyses the result of the General Election on 4th July 2024.

HOW LABOUR WINS is a book about the pursuit of power for working people. In assessing the fortunes of the Labour Party at the ballot box, it asks a simple overarching question – how does Labour win and why does it lose?

The Labour Party has been out of power for almost fifteen years and lost four consecutive elections since 2010 during turbulent times which have been defined by austerity, a Scottish independence referendum, Brexit, and the rise and fall of Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson.

Now, under Keir Starmer, the Party has been ahead in the opinion polls for over two years, while the Conservatives have imploded. How do the lessons of past elections inform us about what Starmer must do to maximise the chances of victory?

Each chapter assesses the state of the nation going into a general election, the issues that shaped that election agenda and the dominant leaders and personalities of the day. This includes analysis of the election result statistics from landslides to hung parliaments, starting with the Labour Party’s first election with only 15 candidates in 1900, Labour first calling for the abolition of the House of Lords in 1910 and the first Labour Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald. It includes party manifestos, such as ‘The nation wants food, work and homes’ (Labour, 1945), party political broadcasts (first televised in 1951) and the historical context for all the major political movements of 20th and 21st century Britain. At the end of every chapter there is an election recap such as the following example:


1923 General Election Result

Date of Election:  6 December 1923

Turnout:  71.1%

Labour candidates:  427

MPs:  191

Votes:  4,439,780

Labour % share of vote:  30.5%

Result:  Labour minority

Highlight           James Ramsay MacDonald becomes the first Labour Prime Minister


With exclusive insights from former leaders and Prime Ministers – including Gordon Brown and Neil Kinnock – HOW LABOUR WINS provides voters with a vital guide to the 2024 election by delving deep into the secrets of long-forgotten campaigns, tracing the Party’s roots, examining the strategies, leaders, transformative moments and missteps which have defined Labour at the ballot box and shaped modern Britain.