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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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(p.173) 8 Conclusion
Labours Old and New

Stephen Meredith

Manchester University Press

Case studies of key political and policy contexts show some of the detail of the intrinsic ideological and political complexity and divisions of the parliamentary Labour right previously concealed within the loosely cohesive governing framework of Keynesian social democracy. The ‘trade union question’ in Labour politics in the late 1960s and 1970s cut right through the parliamentary Labour right. An emerging pragmatic and populist element of Labour revisionism sensed the need to maintain the ‘special link’ with the trade unions as representatives of the ‘organised working class’. The mounting antagonism of Roy Jenkins, Anthony Crosland and Denis Healey inevitably divided and weakened the purchase of Labour Party revisionism and the unity of the parliamentary Labour right in the party political context of the 1970s. The divisions of Labour's centre-right ‘dominant coalition’ became particularly apparent and problematic as simultaneous developments contributed to a shift in the intra-party balance of power after 1970.

Keywords:   parliamentary Labour right, Keynesian social democracy, trade union, Labour politics, Labour Party revisionism, Roy Jenkins, Anthony Crosland, Denis Healey

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