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POLI 212 - APRIL 4.docx

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 212
Hudson Meadwell

APRIL 4, 2012:  The United Kingdom: key dates of change in the post-war settlement. The post war settlement is built around class compromise, it is how the left will be incorporated and excluded from politics.  1964- the breaking point between the old and the new. The issue of the power of the trade union movement become significant. The issue emerges under a labour government, which is paradoxical. When the labour party came to power in this year, it campaigned in a platform that suggested they had a special connection to the trade unions. The trade union movement, after the election, has very high expectations about what the party will deliver for it. Labour party wants to present itself as a party of nation, or a party of credible government, not just a party of class (workers). The campaigned on the idea of running government and the economy with the trade unions, and the conservatives did not have this special connection.  1966- The labour party in power (under Wilson) begins to discipline the trade unions. In part, this is because there are strikes and work stoppages, and the labour party puts out a series of regulations to restrain workers whose wage demands are excessive.  1970s- characterized by strikes and it becomes increasingly difficult for the labour party as a party that can effectively govern because they can control the trade unions. This allows Thatcher to take the opportunity to challenge the welfare state, them mixed economy, an interest in privatization, and a challenge to labour inclusion.  1979- the beginning of the real challenge to the collectivism consensus. A conservative party led by Margaret Thatcher wants to roll back what we take to characteristic of British post war settlement (last class commitment to the mixed economy). Her political campaign in the run up to the election and her agenda is posed around the question “Who Governs?” (The party in question or the trade union). She wants to weaken trade union power. Her success creates problems for the labour party, and they have to realign. Her party governs for 3 excessive elections, which moved British politics permanently towards the right. The emergence of a new centre left party (Social Democrats) is a key outcome of this. The social democrats support British deeper British EU integration and want to distance themselves from the trade union movement.  After three successive defeats, the labour party realizes what they need to do to avoid permanent exclusion from government because Thatcher has moved the median voter. They begin to think about how to modernize politically and ways in which it can move towards the political middle in response to ways in which the median voter has shifted. It is a search for cross-class support that will change the way the party and the trade unions are connected. The trade union movement loses much of its input into the labour party’s policy. They gave up their “party of nation” claim because they want to avoid the connection with the labour party.  1981- a dissatisfied group in the labour party leave and form a Social Democratic Party, who will work in a coalition with the liberal party in the next election.  1983- the Liberal party and the Social Democrats begin to work together  1995- the labour party gives up its formal constitutional commitment to the nationalization of production, which finally expresses how far they’ve moved from their socialist commitments. This represents the transition from old labour to new labour- Harold Wilson to Tony Blair. The new labour is a much paler version of old labour (b/c of the distance with the trade unions).  1999- the territorial structure of British politics changes. Until then, the boundaries and the territorial structure had been organized around trying to gain access to the parliament in Westminster. In 1999, legislatures are created in Scotland and Wales. This is an important change separate to the class question.  British political in terms of territory: Britain is a composite state.  1977- Referendum in Scotland and Wales called by the central government. The referendum has two parts. The first is “Do you want an elected local legislature,” and the second question is about what kinds of competence and capacity this legislature will have. This are called as a counter measure against the mobilization of sub state nationalist identities. Parties in Scotland and Wales elect people to the House of Commons, “The Scotland National Party (SNP)” and the “Plaid Cyrmu.” They are niche, single issue parties located around local issues. Their first breakthrough was in the late 1960s when a member was elected to parliament. These emerging political organization and mobilization around culture and nationalism. In Wales the big issue is language and culture. The Wels
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