On February 27, 1900, in a Christian meeting hall near London’s Smithfield Market, a group of political activists agreed to campaign for ‘a distinct Labour group in Parliament’ which would, they hoped, represent the interests of the British working classes.
For the Labour Party, the following 116 years brought plenty of highs. In 1924 the party had its first Prime Minister in Ramsay MacDonald, the illegitimate son of a Scottish housemaid.
In 1945, a post-war electoral landslide brought to power Clement Attlee, whose government built the modern welfare state, founded the NHS and helped to establish the Nato alliance that won the Cold War.
In the Sixties, Harold Wilson abolished hanging, legalised homosexuality and set up the Open University. In 1997, another landslide took Tony Blair into Downing Street, where, for all his faults, he secured peace in Northern Ireland, devolved power to…