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Extra resources for Interpreting the Labour Party: Approaches to Labour Politics and History (Critical Labour Movement Studies)
Moreover, anticipations of the newer approaches – notably alertness to the fragility of voter–party relations (if uncertain of how to treat this) – are evident in older accounts. I illustrate this by mining an intentional mix of historical works to probe the novelty as much as the uses of newer approaches. In addition, proposing a more contingent relationship between Labour and the people, something I contend was more generic to politics than historians have generally allowed and more than simply a function of differences between labour movement and workingclass culture, I argue that Labour has often imagined the people to be a brake on its progress.
Conditions become defined as problems because we come to believe that we should do something about them. Problems are not simply the conditions or external events themselves; there is also a perceptual, interpretative element. Of themselves, therefore, material conditions rarely determine the content of ideological changes. For example, a rising level of crime, recognised politically as a problem, in itself dictates the adoption neither of punitive penal policies nor of enhanced policies for crime prevention.
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