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
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
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