Daisy Payling
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Building from the bottom
Sheffield City Council and the new urban left
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This chapter explores Sheffield City Council’s policies in the late 1970s and 1980s and the ideology behind them. It examines the ideal of the ‘Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire’ as imagined by David Blunkett and others on Sheffield City Council, showing how policy was influenced by new urban left thinkers and left-wingers working in local governments elsewhere in Britain to come up with a workable alternative to Thatcherism. Highlighting four key policies – the development of nuclear-free zones, the protection of cheap bus fares, the Community Work Apprenticeship Scheme and the campaign against ‘Right to Buy’ sales of social housing – it explains how Sheffield’s ‘local socialism’ took on a local character, addressing issues seen as being specific to the city and surrounding area, whilst also speaking to national debates and incorporating themes explored elsewhere in the British left.

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Socialist Republic

Remaking the British left in 1980s Sheffield

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