4. 1983: A Moral Triumph?
Despite the defeat – which saw Labour nearly come in third place to the SDP-Liberal Alliance in the popular vote - as this article suggests Benn believed the 1983 election result represented a moral triumph upon which the party should build.
“… for the first time since 1945 a political party with an openly socialist policy has received the support of 8½ million people. … it is indeed astonishing that Socialism has reappeared once more on the national agenda and has won such a large vote … the Labour manifesto commanded the loyalty of millions of voters and a democratic socialist bridgehead has been established from which further advances in public understanding and support can be made.
…It is no wonder that the establishment still fears the Labour Party and its ideas so much. For they know that it is the only real challenge to their privileges.”