Chapter 1

British industry, state intervention and Labour politics, 1900–39




The theme of relative industrial and economic decline dominates the historiography of twentieth-century Britain. Whilst there is little agreement on the precise character, scope, timing, let alone causes, of this decline, its central importance in shaping British society seems indisputable.1

Explanations for this process have ranged over almost every feature of the economy and wider society, these interpretations seemingly being themselves subject to cycles of support and disavowal. Indeed, historical explanations have also frequently been linked to contemporary ideological and political concerns. In the 1960s and 1970s, for example, much emphasis was put ...

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