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The LRC won two seats in the 1900 general election and three further seats in by-elections.In the 1906 general election 29 of its 50 candidates were elected, with the numbers of successful candidates going up in the January 1910 (40 of 78) and the December 1910 (40 of 56) after the mining unions had affiliated.In the second half of the nineteenth century most British trade union leaders were Liberal Party supporters while most trade unionists voted Liberal, but in Lancashire, Birmingham and elsewhere many voted Conservative.
By the late nineteenth century trade unionism was strong among skilled workers, was established in some counties with mining and, with the of 1888-90, trade unionism flourished among the unskilled (before weakening substantially by the mid-1890s).
In contrast with Germany where the SPD was huge before trade unionism expanded rapidly in the later 1890s, in Britain the socialists were small in number and fragmented, dwarfed by the trade unions [see Table 1].
The Marxist Social Democrat Federation (SDF) is credited with some 689 paid-up members in 1886-7, but it seems to have had more than that, albeit ones who were unable or failed to pay.
The breakaway Socialist League, with William Morris (1834-96) as its charismatic leader, was smaller still.
The trade unions were a reality that the British socialists could not ignore.
British trade unionism was the oldest in Europe, stretching back through the eighteenth century to very early printers’ societies in the late seventeenth century.The trade union-Labour Party link has been contentious with the pre-1914 socialists and the post-1994 New Labour Blairites as well as with Labour’s political opponents, the Conservative and Liberal parties.Yet, for the Labour Party the trade unions have provided support in hard times, as in the face of National Labour in the 1930s and the break-away of the Social Democrat Party (SDP) in the 1980s.Before 1897 the SDF leadership which drew on Robert Owen (1771-1858) and the more socialist of the Chartist leaders as well as on Marx, was very critical of trade unionism which was deemed to be , though there were strong advocates of trade unionism within the SDF.Morris was also for long highly critical of trade unionism but he campaigned in the mining areas of the North East, becoming a late convert to the need to gain trade union support.Mais lors de « l’hiver du mécontentement » de 1979, les syndicats et les grèves ont constitué un handicap majeur pour le parti.La relation entre les deux paraît s’être détériorée depuis ; néanmoins, au niveau national comme local, les syndicats fournissent au parti un soutien financier et des militants essentiels à son succès.The relationship seems to have deteriorated since then; however, nationally and locally, the trade unions have provided both finance and activists which have been a bedrock of support for the Labour Party.siècle ou des partisans New Labour de Tony Blair que de la part des partis conservateur ou libéral.The Independent Labour Party (ILP), founded in Bradford in 1893 and the largest of the late nineteenth century socialist bodies (with 10,720 paid-up members in 1894-5), was much closer to trade unionism than the SDF.Nevertheless, a few of its leading figures, most notably Philip Snowden (1894-1937), who was to be Chancellor of the Exchequer in the first two Labour governments (19-31), were famously often hostile to the trade unions.