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Labour Heritage

Honorary President:  Wayne David MP

Labour Heritage promotes the history of the Labour Movement, particularly among Labour Party members, Constituency Labour Parties and affiliated organisations. The Labour Party has had a massive influence in re-shaping British society since its formation in 1900 as the Labour Representation Committee, and since it elected its first block of MPs in 1906, the year it renamed itself ‘Labour Party’.

Labour’s high point was the Government of 1945 with the bringing in of the modern welfare state, especially the National Health Service. The Party was built from below by the efforts of millions of ordinary people. Labour Heritage particularly encourages research, recording and publication of local Labour history to commemorate that contribution.

2006 saw the 100th Anniversary of the renaming of the LRC to the Labour Party. Labour Heritage is encouraging people at local level to write up the histories of their local parties. Contact us for more information.

Labour Heritage’s strength comes from our members who actively record local Labour Party history. Why not join in order to support our work, to learn about Labour history or carry out research yourself.  We can provide support and advice to members undertaking their own research.

Stan Newens  1930 – 2021

I first met Stan in the European Parliament when I became an MEP in 1989. Stan had previously been a Labour MP and had been an MEP since 1985, and from the moment I met him it was obvious to me that Stan was a man of ‘principle’; someone who believed that ‘democratic socialism’ was not a short term tactic but a set of practical principles which provided an analysis of the unequal world in which we live, a method for bringing radical change to that world and a vision of what a new world order could look like. Although Stan and I would often have political disagreements, I never doubted his sincerity.

Throughout his life, Stan was an ‘internationalist’ and always believed that exploitation and discrimination had to be confronted and defeated at home and abroad. He was an unflinching opponent of colonialism and believed that racism, in all its forms, was an evil which was totally unacceptable in a civilised society.

Once a schoolteacher, Stan was always at heart an educator. And he strongly believed that ‘history’ was a vital weapon in the armoury of a socialist. Not for him the view that history was a polite, dispassionate description of the activities of the ruling class. Stan believed in history from below. He correctly held the view that history had lessons to teach us and that ‘people’s history’ was about the struggle of the extraordinary, ordinary people, throughout history, to create a better world.

In his own writing, he showed that he practised what he preached. In his pamphlets and in his splendid book on ‘North Weald Bassett and its People’  Stan displayed well the products of his craft. They showed his in-depth research, clear writing, and consistent Marxist analysis. But they were also imbued with a few romanticised undertones (which Stan would have, of course, steadfastly denied).

Stan lived a good life. A life that was about doing all he could to help improve the lot of his fellow men and women.

His contribution to Labour History was enormous. If we can continue his work, that will be the greatest tribute that we can pay to Arthur Stanley Newens.

Wayne David MP