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Labours Old and NewThe Parliamentary Right of the British Labour Party 1970-79 and the Roots of New Labour$
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Stephen Meredith

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780719073229

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719073229.001.0001

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In Place of Strife? The parliamentary Labour right and the ‘trade union question’

In Place of Strife? The parliamentary Labour right and the ‘trade union question’

(p.103) 5 In Place of Strife? The parliamentary Labour right and the ‘trade union question’
Labours Old and New

Stephen Meredith

Manchester University Press

This chapter investigates the parliamentary Labour right attitudes to industrial relations policy and trade union reform. In Place of Strife: A Policy for Industrial Relations was the first (recent) attempt ‘to confine industrial relations within a framework of law’. The In Place of Strife controversy had the effect of consolidating emerging divisions between Tony Crosland and Roy Jenkins. James Callaghan combined his attack on the Industrial Relations Act with an appeal for still greater voluntary discipline on the part of the trade unions. The economic role of trade unions was important for the small ‘l’ liberal wing of social democrats. Debilitating divisions of the Labour right occurred across a range of key themes and issues of industrial relations and trade union reform. The distance between the preferences of moderate but radical social democracy and the ‘rules’ of the Labour movement represented perhaps the deepest gulf in British politics.

Keywords:   parliamentary Labour right, industrial relations, trade union reform, In Place of Strife, Tony Crosland, Roy Jenkins, James Callaghan, Industrial Relations Act, social democracy, British politics

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