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Oswald Mosley and the New Party [Hardcover]

Matthew Worley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 60.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

13 May 2010
In 1931, as Britain's economy sunk further into depression, Sir Oswald Mosley made a fateful decision. Having served in Ramsay MacDonald's minority Labour government, he chose to secede from the Labour Party and launch a new political initiative. This was the New Party, inspired by the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes and the emergent modern movements on the continent. Though ultimately a spectacular failure, the New Party burned brightly if briefly. It helped pave the way for a wider debate on the possibilities of economic planning; it simultaneously led Mosley into the realm of fascism. Throughout this process, Mosley sought counsel from many of the period's most well-known personalities. As Mosley searched to find a solution to Britain's economic ails, he drew inspiration from the likes of George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells; he looked to secure the backing of Lord Beaverbrook and Lord Rothermere; he endeavoured to strike political deals with Winston Churchill and Lloyd George whilst also hoping to draw on the support of young, radical politicians such as Aneurin Bevan, John Strachey and Bo Boothby. In the event, the New Party's appeal proved ephemeral. Nevertheless, its brief history proved integral to Mosley's adoption of the blackshirt. It was in the New Party that British fascism was formed in embryo; it was in the New Party that Mosley raised the slogan of a corporate state and struggled to conceive a new form of politics that transcended the perceived limits of parliamentary democracy.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (13 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230206972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230206977
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,192,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'Worley's book, which is the first detailed study of the New Party, is to be welcomed. It is important to show the danger that frustation with democratic systems can so easily lead to authoritarianism and militarism.' - Duncan Bowie, Chartist: For Democratic Socialism
'Matthew Worley's reconstruction of Oswald Mosley's New Party is a welcome addition to the historiography on inter-war British politics. Until now, no historian has studied the New Party on its own terms in this detail. The book is well written and it will appeal to undergraduate students because it serves as a good introduction to the fractious political culture that shaped the 1931 political crisis. But political historians should also read the book. Worley adds new flesh to the bones of a familiar story and he has used his intimate knowledge of the New Party to explore broader historical debates about the importance of 'generations' in this period and the relationship between fascism and modernism.' - Gary Love, Twentieth Century British History

Book Description

The first full-length study of the organization that incubated Britain's most provocative and successful fascist movement, exploring Oswald Mosley's transformation from Labour politician to fascist

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding study 26 Jun 2010
This was probably one of the most difficult books for any author to write given the apparent lack of research material for this short period in Oswald Mosley's career. But Matthew Worley has risen to the challenge magnificently uncovering a fund of information from the most diverse sources and presents it in a highly readable form. It's the classic story of idealists who think banishing poverty and unemployment is going to be easy only to find they are up against irresistable forces. The author is to be congratulated in rescuing this never before told story from the shadows of obscurity.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When Will They Ever Learn? 16 Jan 2011
Oswald Mosley was a member of the British Establishment with sufficient wealth to act as he wished during the political instability of the inter-war period. He was a fine speaker and orator which, coupled with supreme self-confidence, created an image of arrogance based on political insight. His marriage to Lady Cynthia Curzon, attended by the King and Queen, was the social event of 1920. His father in law thought Mosley was looking for social advancement and his daughter's inheritance. He was probably right as Mosley had affairs with his wife's younger sister, her stepmother and the anti-semitic Diana Guinness for whom he refused to leave his wife or her inheritance. Despite his personal failings he was widely regarded across the political spectrum as providing a new and exciting analysis of the social and political needs of a nation whose politicians seemed incapable of controlling events.

Mosley became the youngest active member of the House of Commons when he was elected Conservative MP for Harrow in 1918 aged 22. His brand of socialist imperialism did not sit well with the Coalition policy in Ireland. He saw himself as a centrist on a political spectrum which was moving leftward, representing a new generation ready to meet new challenges. He became an Independent MP, defecting to Labour in 1924 and returning to Parliament in 1926. He advocated new policies to deal with unemployment and during the second Labour Government mapped out new economic measures based on a planned economy as the way to deal with the Wall Street crash and its aftermath. The Mosley Memorandum, which wanted to centralise power in the Executive and reduce the role of Parliament, was narrowly rejected at the 1930 Labour Party Conference.
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