The Original Sin, Two Mistakes and a Misdiagnosis – All out war (1997 to 2016)

The Context –  “The major recession of the early 1980s, which destroyed much of Britain’s ‘smokestack’ manufacturing and heavy industry, had been exacerbated by purist market ‘monetarist’ policies and unemployment rose to over 3million. The privatisation of the major utilities (coal, gas, electricity and water) had also led to much unionised job-shedding. Union membership had contracted from its 1970s peak of over 13 million to 7-8 million and collective bargaining was on the retreat across British industry. The process of ‘reforming’ (i.e., abolishing or severely restricting), traditional union activities and practices with three separate pieces of legislation (1980-84), was pressed home with the far more legalistic Employment Act 1988. This was after the defeat of the union ‘shock troop’ miners and printers’ in bitter and protracted disputes. In this polarised situation, the TUC were being marginalised by a government who had abandoned the last vestiges of the consensual ‘corporatist’ tradition of all post-war administrations (‘no more beer and sandwiches at Downing Street’). It was in this context that the unions’ and TUC, sharp pro-European turning of 1988 must be understood. It was also a sign of their recognition that unions and their members now needed a European ‘social dimension’ to face the profound industrial changes occurring.”

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A story told in quotes on the Labour Party & Trade Union movement role in Brexit:

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