The Labour Party was formed in 1900 as a coalition between trade unions and socialist intellectuals with the aim of securing representation for the working class in parliament. During the First World War, Labour was transformed from a pressure group to a party of government, and in 1945 it formed its first majority government, which carried out an extensive programme of social reform.
Today, however, like other social democratic parties in Western Europe, the party finds itself in retreat. What is the explanation for the rise and decline of social democracy?
Vernon Bogdanor CBE is Emeritus Gresham Professor of Law, current Visiting Gresham Professor of Political History, Research Professor at King's College London, a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Prior to 2010, Professor Bogdanor was a Fellow of Brasenose College and Professor of Government at Oxford University.
He has been an adviser to a number of governments, including those of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Israel and Slovakia. His books include The People and the Party System, Multi-Party Politics and the Constitution, Power and the People, and Devolution in the United Kingdom. He is a frequent contributor to TV, radio and the press and is a sometimes special advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities (1982-83), and the House of Commons Public Service Committee. Most recently he was awarded the Sir Isaiah Berlin Prize for Lifetime Contribution to Political Studies by the Political Studies Association.
Professor Bogdanor's previous lecture series are as follows:
2017/18 British Political Parties
2016/17 The Monarchy
2014/15 Six General Elections
2013/14 Britain and Europe
2010/12 Britain in the 20th Century
All of Professor Bogdanor's past Gresham lectures can be accessed here.