Political ideas and policy in the Labour Party, 1983-1992
This thesis examines the political ideas of the Labour Party between 1983 and 1992. It adopts two detailed case studies: Labour’s economic policy and Labour’s social policy. Part I provides an historical context of Labour’s political ideas and Part II analyses the political ideas content of Labour’s social and economic policy between 1983 and 1992. This includes the work of ‘Labour intellectuals’, ‘thinker-politicians’ and official party documents, notably the Policy Review. The thesis shows the need for an historical context based on three factors. First, the history of Labour’s political ideas, discussed in Part I, illustrates the extent to which former debates re-emerge; to a large extent, Labour continued in the 1980s to be pre-occupied with traditional arguments. Second, Labour’s economic and social policy thinking was, at least in part, a reflection on its own ‘record’ in government. An historical context inevitably includes an analysis of Labour’s own post-war economic and social policy thinking. Third, the immediate political context between 1983 and 1992 is also central to an understanding of Labour’s ideas over this period. This includes the impact of Thatcherism, its policy and ideas, as well as the effect of fundamental economic and social change. However, it is the first which is most important. The history of Labour’s ideas is noticeably neglected in the literature on the period. This thesis constitutes an attempt to redress the balance.