New histories of Labour and the left in the 1980s
in Labour and the left in the 1980s
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Neil Kinnock's Labour Party and intellectuals around the periodical Marxism Today offered a fundamental revision of the standard left-wing project. Labour sought to develop dynamic responses to secure growth in an age of increasing globalisation. Local government, the media, trade unions, pressure groups, the arts and academia: all were often dominated by left-of-centre voices that created networks of opposition to the recently elected Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher. In the 1975 referendum on the Common Market, Michael Foot and much of the left opposed Britain's continuing membership, while many on the right of the party supported the remaining in Europe. Any evaluation of Labour politics needs to consider the question of class and organised labour. The radicals of the 1980s generation were heirs to a strand of internationalism that had been a feature of left-wing politics since the Chartists and which had shaped the Labour Party throughout its history.


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