Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Election manifesto of James Maxton, 15 Nov 1922

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James Maxton won the seat of Bridgeton in the East End of Glasgow at the second time of asking in 1922, he had contested the seat in the 'Khaki' election of 1918 but came second to the Liberal candidate McCallum-Scott. In the General Election of 1922, Labour won 10 out of the 15 Glasgow constituencies, this was in stark contrast to the election result four years earlier in 1918 when Labour won only 1 of the 15 Glasgow constituencies.

James Maxton was one of the commanding figures of the Independent Labour Party, both in Scotland and in the UK as a whole and was elected as national leader of the ILP in 1926. Like many of his colleagues in the ILP, Maxton was a pacifist and campaigned against Britain's involvement in the 1st World War and against the introduction of conscription. Maxton also campaigned on industrial issues and was imprisoned by the authorities in 1916 for delivering pro-strike speeches at a demonstration in Glasgow to oppose the Munitions Act.

Maxton attempted on several occasions to steer the Parliamentary Labour Party in the direction of a strictly socialist programme of policies. As co-author of the 1924 policy document, “Socialism in our time “he urged the Labour Party to abandon its reformist outlook and to adopt policies based on socialist doctrine. Although gaining support in some quarters of the party, the right-wing Labour leadership largely ignored Maxton's advice. Following the 1929 General Election, Maxton was again highly critical of the Labour Government led by Ramsay MacDonald for its failure to enact strong socialist measures. When MacDonald formed the National Government in 1931 Maxton successfully persuaded the Independent Labour Party to disaffiliate from the Labour Party in 1932.