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The plight of the British Labour party—which can be found today still licking its wounds from a devastating 2019 general election defeat, presenting as a shadow of its once proud self—should be a warning to any political organization tempted to believe it can neglect its core vote and remain an electoral force. Labour’s dismissal of—indeed, contempt for—the conservatism of millions of working-class voters contributed to its worst result at the national polls in more than eighty years and has given rise to the distinct possibility that it will be out of power for a generation.

Founded as the Labour Representation Committee in 1900—born, in the words of one former statesman, “out of the bowels of the trade union movement”—the party commanded the loyalty of broad swathes of the British working class for much of the twentieth century. That it did so was a large part of the reason why Britain, unlike a number of its continental neighbors, was seduced by neither fascism nor communism.

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