By Hugh Berrington
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3 and 4. 36. The Times, 27 May 1983. ), Politics of the Labour Party (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1982) for discussion of attitudes to centralisation in both the Conservative and Labour parties. 37. See Guardian, 14 June 1983. 38. Keating, ‘Labour and Scottish Nationalism: An Update’ Cencrastus, Spring 1983. 39. McKie, Guardian, 16 June 1983. 40. Craig, op. cit. 41. Political Companion No. 32. 42. I am grateful to Clive Payne, Oxford Social Studies Computing Unit for calculations of the relationship between various distributions of party support and the outcomes in terms of seats.
10 The majority of MPs were restrained by their own convictions or their awareness of public opinion (including the views of their own Labour voters) from going very far along the activist road. That became a new offence compounding the basic sin of supporting leaders whose economic policies were seen to have failed, and whose basically socialdemocratic outlook was regarded as discredited when economic growth no longer provided resources for distribution to some without directly depriving others.
Their successes helped to encourage more of their allies and sympathisers to join the Labour party even if they had once written it off, as the possibilities of local takeover or national influence seemed to grow. The growth of Labour’s paper membership from perhaps 284,000 in 1979 to 359,000 in 1980 reversed a long slide downwards; but the far Left, who had benefited from the decline as it reduced the size of the battlefield and enabled them to deploy their small numbers to greater effect, now benefited from the revival as it brought reinforcements to their ranks rather than to those of the traditionalists.
Change in British Politics (West European Politics) by Hugh Berrington