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By Dennis Kavanagh (ed.)

It will be differcult to consider any political celebration whose inner difficulties were so publicly scrutinised as have these of the Labour celebration in recent times. The authors of The Politics of the Labour Party weren't in particular requested to think about the question-why Labour? there was no scarcity of released perspectives on that topic. as an alternative they have been invited to examine convinced topics and themes of longer-term value. With a spotlight on modern difficulties, whose effects are nonetheless unfolding The Politics of the Labour Party promotes an knowing of the context within which these difficulties occured and may improve with its major theme being switch.

Chapters included specialise in strength in occasion; the constructing incompatibility of intra-party democracy and parliamentary democracy and the altering varieties of political management. famous individuals akin to the past due Robert Mackenzie, Colin Crouch and Dennis Kavanagh increase very important questions about the adjustments within the dating among the social gathering and the exchange unions; remind us in regards to the scale of labours contemporary decline in electoral aid and examine the party's rules of illustration and asks if Labour remains to be the staff party.

The Politics of the Labour Party presents easily the main authoritative research of the longer-term tensions which lie at the back of the immediacy of day by day occasions.

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Extra info for The Politics of the Labour Party

Sample text

In opposition this ideological disadvantage might be compensated for by the temporary unpopularity of a Conservative administration. But when in government the Labour Party enters the electoral arena without the protective clothing of ideological sympathy among its traditional supporters; the result is the kind of mauling it suffered in I 979. Such conclusions, however, do not offer the Labour Party any clear guidelines for climbing out of electoral trouble. The survey data do not suggest solutions so much as underline the party's ever-present problem: the lack of appeal that socialist policies (although not ultimate goals), of almost any variety, hold for a large - and growing - portion of the working class.

1 0, which sets out the electorate's attitudes to the main proposals in the Labour and Conservative parties' 1979 election manifestos. Manual workers, Labour's natural sympathisers, were on average slightly more in favour of Conservative than Labour proposals (the same is true of young manual workers). Comparison on individual items is particularly revealing. For example, manual workers were as much in favour of cutting the top rate of income tax (the Conservative proposal) as of introducing a wealth tax (the Labour proposal).

No doubt the size of this gap between the electorate and the Labour Party was temporarily inflated by the political circumstances of 1979 and will narrow under a Conservative government; but the gap will not disappear. The Labour Party must face the fact that the divorce between Labour principles and working-class opinion results partly from changes of working-class interests over the last twenty years. Even if Abrams's assumptions about continuing economic growth were over-optimistic, some aspects of working-class life have sufficiently altered (usually for the better) to create new interests that are not obviously served by the Labour Party's traditional faith in the steady growth of public expenditure, welfare benefits, trade union power and public ownership.

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