This work attempts to dissect the reasons behind the failure of the Labour Party to transform British society. Rejecting simplistic explanations such as those which focus on the supposed treachery or incompetence of the Party’s leadership, Thompson argues the causes for failure run much deeper and spring from the conservative political culture from which the Labour Party developed. In essence, this book contends the ship of British labourism has been wrecked on the rocks of the inherent incompatibility of their social vision with an allegiance to governmental traditions. As the author states in his introduction, the central element of the Labour Party "has been the symbiosis between a movement of organized male workers seeking space for collective bargaining and social improvement on their own terms, and a state which has remained, beneath its outer layers of parliamentary democracy, profoundly authoritarian and traditional- ist." This thesis is developed throughout the book, which analyses the history of the British labor movement since 1945.