Warren’s Reflections: Life as a Labour Organiser in Thatcher’s Britain

By David Warren It was the Winter of 1981. And with Margaret Thatcher's premiership on the ropes, I arrived in the town of Newbury. I was seventeen, unemployed and eager to change the world around me. So I joined the Labour Party and attended my first branch meeting in the Labour Club near the Railway … Continue reading Warren’s Reflections: Life as a Labour Organiser in Thatcher’s Britain

Benn, Healey and the Labour contest that never ends

This article originally appeared in The Times on 28 September 2021 Forty years ago this week Labour members across the country packed up their suitcases and headed down to Brighton to decide their party’s fate. Over the summer of 1981, Denis Healey and Tony Benn fought their deputy leadership battle in every newspaper column, television … Continue reading Benn, Healey and the Labour contest that never ends

Sunny Jim: How Callaghan won the ‘Heavyweight’ Labour Contest of the 70s

The Labour contest was the first to be fought in thirteen years following the resignation of Harold Wilson. Wilson had given Callaghan a heads up in the days before telling him he ‘should begin to make preparations for the inevitable contest’ The bookmakers priced it as follows: James Callaghan 4/5 Denis Healey 7/4 Tony Crosland … Continue reading Sunny Jim: How Callaghan won the ‘Heavyweight’ Labour Contest of the 70s

Kinnock v Benn: Labour’s Final Battle of the 1980s

In 1988, Tony Benn challenged Neil Kinnock for the leadership of the Labour Party. The story of the campaign often overlooked by historians. -------------------- Rumours began in January 1988 that Kinnock would face a challenge from the left of the party. Tony Benn claimed Kinnock was ‘increasingly intolerant’ and ‘authoritarian’ in his manner and ‘gave a … Continue reading Kinnock v Benn: Labour’s Final Battle of the 1980s

Waiting at the church: Why Callaghan failed to call the 1978 general election

By the summer of 1978, Jim Callaghan had a big decision to make. After four tumultuous years in power, his party had finally nudged ahead in the opinion polls. An election was expected, but to the shock of the world, Callaghan abandoned his plan. It became the most significant miscalculation in Labour's history For most of 1976 … Continue reading Waiting at the church: Why Callaghan failed to call the 1978 general election

The End of a Thousand Years of History – Labour’s Long March To Brexit

Hugh Gaitskell, Barbara Castle, Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, Tony Benn, Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Jeremy Corbyn all have one thing in common. They have all advocated withdrawal from the EEC/EU at some point in their long political careers. But only Jeremy Corbyn can see it through to fruition. It begs the question, why … Continue reading The End of a Thousand Years of History – Labour’s Long March To Brexit