First published in 1983. This study draws upon empirical findings on party activists, members and voters. It examines the origins and nature of Labour’s crisis in the 1980s, showing how the split leading to the formation of the SDP was merely a manifestation of deeply rooted problems which went back many years. It argues that this crisis had three distinct but interrelated aspects: first, the ideological schism within the party, which had grown in intensity over time; second, the electoral crisis, which produced the worst electoral performance at the 1983 general election since 1918; and, third, the membership crisis arising from the fact that the party had been losing more than 11,000 individual members per year on average since 1945. Using elite and mass surveys the book demonstrates the link between these crises and Labour’s policy performance in office set against a background of rapid economic decline.
Table of Contents
List of Figures; List of Tables; Acknowledgements; 1. The Labour Party in Crisis – An Overview; Part One: The Political Sociology of the Crisis; 2. The Ideological Crisis 3. The Membership Crisis 4. The Electoral Crisis; Part Two: The Political Economy of the Crisis; 5. Labour’s Policy Goals 6. The Labour Party and Economic Policy 7. Labour’s Social Policy – The Case of Poverty 8. The Future of the Labour Party 9. Postscript: The 1983 General Election; Appendices; Bibliography; Index
Paul Whiteley is a Fellow of the British Academy and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.