Christopher Massey
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The Policy Review, 1987–92
in The modernisation of the Labour Party, 1979–97
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This chapter analyses the progress towards modernisation made under John Smith’s leadership, principally through an examination of his relationship with the trade unions and One Member One Vote. Although Smith’s reforms had a positive impact on the image of the party, they made only small differences to the internal balance between Labour and the unions. These reforms were more symbolic than revolutionary. The trade unions traded a small share of their conference block vote (from 90 to 70 per cent) and a small decrease in their vote within the electoral college (from 40 to 33 per cent), for arguably an increased role as individual trade unionists, if not as a collective movement, in candidate selection. Yet the OMOV decision paved the way for further internal reform; however, such reform was by no means inevitable under Smith and occurred under a different leader – Tony Blair

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