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Even before the 1983 election Labour looked like it didn’t have the solutions to Britain’s biggest problems. This 1979 Conservative Party poster credited with helping Margaret Thatcher win the election held that year, made this point most forcefully.

The Labour Party’s 1983 manifesto was heavily influenced by the party’s leftwing. It called for unilateral nuclear disarmament, higher taxes, withdrawal from the European Economic Community and greater state control of the economy. The leftwing…

Tony Benn was the figurehead of the Labour Party’s left. He had a strong influence on the party during the 1970s and 1980s. Benn believed the party should stick with the policies of 1983. But such was the scale of the defeat this looked unrealistic…

The election of Neil Kinnock as leader marked a change of direction for the Labour Party. Not everybody agreed. Jeremy Corbyn remained loyal to Tony Benn and called for Labour to confront the Conservative government rather than incorporate some of…

After losing again in 1987, support grew for further moderating – or ‘modernising’ - party policy. Much of this period was devoted to changing how the public viewed Labour, to move on from the party of class conflict.

We'll win with Labour.jpg
In 1992 Kinnock faced a divided Conservative government in the midst of a recession. Many believed this was Labour’s best chance since 1974 to win office. Despite a slick and confident campaign, Kinnock failed once again.

Labour’s defeat provoked many inquests. This Fabian Society report asked working class voters in Essex why they remained loyal to the Conservatives. It found they did not trust Labour to manage the economy and believed the party would misspend their…

John Smith believed Labour lost the general election in 1992 because voters found Neil Kinnock unappealing. Smith was confident he had the skills to win over voters. After reducing union influence in the party, in 1993 Smith called a halt to further…

Conservative troubles meant Labour under John Smith enjoyed a lead in the polls. However in May 1994 he died. Some strongly believe that had Smith lived he would have led the party back to power without the transformations associated with Blair.…
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