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Labour Party history since 1979

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Introduction

Labour Party history since 1979 Reform of the Labour Party 1979-97: Between 1979 and 1997, there was extensive reform of the structure and organisation of the Labour Party. In part, this was a reflection of the Party's failure to win a general election between 1979 and 1997. In part it was a reflection of an ideological struggle between different factions within the Party. There were three distinct phases: 1) The Bennite challenge 1979-83 Following Labour's 1979 general election defeat, a group of Labour Party activists led by Tony Benn attempted to change the balance of power within the Party. They argue that by ignoring the wishes of Labour's activists its parliamentary leaders had lost touch with the wishes of its natural working class electorate, which paved the way for MPs Thatcher's victory in 1979. Rules change 1980: The pressure for reform expected by been and his supporters produced two main changes, the first as a result of a rule change made at the 1980 Party conference, it became mandatory for Labour MPs to be reselected by their constituency Labour parties before each general election. ...read more.

Middle

In 1998, the Labour Party believed that by the strength of their common endeavour, they achieve more that they achieved alone, so as to create for of them the means to realise their true potential and for al of them as a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not few where the right they enjoy reflect the duties they owe. In 1983, the Labour Party was committed to increased public spending and state ownership, unilateral nuclear disarmament and leaving the European community. All these policy positions have since been reversed, suggesting the betrayal of the part's former socialism. In the early 1980s which is untypical, Blair leadership has much in common with that of earlier leaders like Callaghan and Wilson. Blair describes his ideology as the Third Way. This draws on some familiar Labour themes. In the 34 years between 1945 and 1979, the Labour Party helped power for 17 years - the same number of years as the conservative. Between 1979 and 1997, the Party remain din position. Despites doubts that Labour could ever win an overall majority again, the Party proved doubters wrong by winning its largest ever overall majority in 1997 and ...read more.

Conclusion

Leadership election in 1994 Leader MPs Ordinary members Trade unions Total Blair Prescott Becket 60.5 19.6 19.9 58.2 24.4 17.4 52.3 28.4 19.4 57.0 24.1 18.9 Deputy leader MPs Ordinary members Trade unions Total Prescott Becket 53.7 46.3 59.4 40.6 56.6 43.4 56.5 43.5 The location of power 1955-94: The fact that Labour Leaders continued to ignore or to act against the whished of the majority members in the years after McKenzie wrote his book in 1995 suggests that power remained with the Labour leadership. Indeed, there is good evidence that the moves towards centralisation undertaken by Neil Kinnock after 1983. The location of power under Tony Blair 1997-2007: By 1998, a debate was taking place about whether Blair's reforms had strengthened or weakened democracy in the Party. Blair and his supporters argued that the new policy-making process provided a more focused and therefore effective role for members allowing them to influence policy during the consultation process and at Party conference. Moreover, the decision to hold internal referendums on the revision of CLAUSE IV and on the acceptance of the key principles on which Labour was to fight the 1997 general election can be interpreted as the leadership going a greater say to ordinary individual members. ...read more.

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