1. Back from the brink?
Labour’s 1983 election manifesto was described as the ‘longest suicide note in history’ because the party committed itself to policies popular with members, but which most voters did not like. Support for the Labour Party collapsed at the 1983 election. After the defeat Neil Kinnock was elected leader. He decided party policy had to be ‘modernised’ if Labour was to recover. The Labour leftwing believed the result was due to the 1982 Falklands War mobilising support for the Conservative government, not Labour’s radical programme. This remains the view of some.
Jeremy Corbyn and Tony Blair were both elected as MPs for the first time in 1983. Corbyn recently called the 1983 manifesto, ‘a very interesting electoral platform’. Kinnock’s ‘modernisation’ of policy had limited results. When Labour lost the 1992 election – the fourth in a row – some believed Labour would never win power again.