Ben Tillett, by Jim McNeill

Ben Tillett, by Jim McNeill
Ben Tillett, by Jim McNeill

Published by the Bristol Radical History Group in 2012, 32 pages. A5 size booklet (N4618P1)

From introduction: This booklet concerns the life of a working-class Bristolian who, though tireless and outspoken in his early days in addressing the inequalities of society, nevertheless moved more and more towards a position of contempt for both the members of his own trade unions and the working people who voted for him as an MP.

A study of Ben Tillett’s life contains, I think, lessons that will enable readers to deepen their understanding of the historical roots of ‘New Labour’ with its duplicity and jingoistic, ‘little Englander’ mentality as well as the political positions of Trade Union leaders as they seek to limit public debate, analysis of the current recession and alternative political strategies with the very class of people they supposedly represent.

The co-ordinated actions by Victorian and Edwardian employers to combat the rise of ‘new unionism’ epitomised by Ben Tillett involved all branches of the State (police, army, civil servants) as well as politicians at local and national level. Tillett’s life story shows how the State also relies on leaders of labour to head off independent working class movements that threaten private ownership. The miners’ strike and the Wapping dispute of the 1980’s are more recent examples of such tactics and all add to the historical proof of what really lies behind the smiling mask of ‘Caring Capitalism’.

Condition of the booklet is generally excellent. The cover is clean and tidy, the staple spine is intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound

Condition New