Written in English
|Contributions||Manchester Polytechnic. Department of Social Science.|
This contribution focuses on the debates within the labour movement over the nature and significance of the Conservative period in power and of Conservative policies in the s. The contention of this paper is that, besides the direct impact of Conservative policies on trade unions and on working-class living and working conditions, which were indeed central to what the new right planned as Author: Marc Lenormand. It explains how British PM Margaret Thatcher got away with taming the English trade union movement. In the s, the British unions were thriving. About 50% of all workers were members, there was a robust shop stewards movement, and delegate structures were bursting with life and energy. Book Description: Controversial when the first edition was published in , Colin Leys' analysis of the changing face of British politics has been confirmed by events of the late s. The second edition, revised throughout, is brought up to date with substantial new material on the Thatcher era. The trade unions have been accused of being insensitive on gender and ethnicity. They have also been accused of being corporatist, unelected partners in government (especially in the –79 period). Overall, this book gives students a lucid introduction to the recent history of British trade unionism.
The unions were a major force in s Britain, with around one in four of the UK population a member - m people. Those numbers went down significantly by to m - and in /9 to m. Her economic policies helped weaken the unions. The recession of the early s saw manufacturing, the main area of union strength, shrink by half while unemployment soared to over three million. Union membership plummeted from a peak of 12 million in . While British trade unionism counterbalanced the lack of labour regulation in the UK with huge grassroots membership in factories and workshops, French trade unionism could avoid resorting to mass trade unionism thanks to the labour laws of the French Republic. on the other, was the result of Thatcherism. From to , sucessive Tory. The Downing Street papers from show she told Ferdinand Mount, then head of her policy unit, that she agreed that Norman Tebbit's gradualist approach to trade union .
This is as much a convenient way to structure the book as it is a challenge to the tendency to view Thatcherism as an entirely consistent and monolithic entity. By focusing on discrete economic policy areas we are reminded that Thatcherism can be understood as ‘a series of policy domains, rather than a single doctrine or process’ (p. ). the failure of Thatcherism was not, as the Thatcherites thought (and Torrance occasionally seems to buy into this), because Scotland was stuck in the past while the world was changing, but because Scotland itself was changing, leaving the old unionism behind while not embracing Thatcherite British renewal. Sandbrook explains Thatcherism as a reordering of who controlled Britain’s national family. He depicts the Thatcherites as upstarts who were determined to overturn the cozy “consensus” between the Conservative and Labour parties, and between employers and trade unions, that had dominated British political life since It is interesting to consider the fate in the s of the five features of the post-war consensus outlined previously. 1. Trade unions now operated in .