Sunday, November 11, 2007

Paul Linford's Top 10 Political Turning Points

Paul Linford has posted another of his entertaining Top Tens. This one looks at the political turning points of his lifetime.

At no. 1 is the "winter of discontent" of 1978/9. Having recently suggested that Jim Callaghan would have lost an election if he had called one in the autumn of 1978, I suppose that I have to query this judgement too.

I would date the collapse of Labour to the party's conference in 1976. That was the conference where Denis Healey was called back from the airport - he was on his way to an IMF meeting - to rally support for the government. He was also needed in London because the economy was close to meltdown.

Just as important were the words of Jim Callaghan at the same event:

We used to think that you could spend your way out of a recession and increase employment by cutting taxes and boosting government spending. I tell you in all candour that that option no longer exists, and in so far as it ever did exist, it only worked on each occasion since the war by injecting a bigger dose of inflation into the economy, followed by a higher level of unemployment as the next step.
Paul names England's defeat to Germany in the 1970 World Cup at no. 2. As a Chelsea fan, I cannot allow the great Peter Bonetti to shoulder the blame for Mrs Thatcher.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My memory is that the ecomny ecovered during the Lib/Lab pact years of 1977/8. Callaghan had lost his overall majority anyway, if he'd have gone to the country in autumn 1978, I think Labour would have been returned as the largest party again.

I used to work with someone who was on the NALGO NEC in 1978, he explained that the Unions told Callaghan their members would not accept further pay restraint.

In spite of this, and the end of the Lib/Lab pact Callaghan was convinced he could struggle on for another year.......arrogance or folly?