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October 08, 2008

Comments

Chris Williams

That particular question becomes very boring just as soon as you remember the average salaries of BBC employees at editorial level, and the structures of ownership in the rest of the media. Very, very, boring.

redpesto

Establish a National Investment Bank to put new resources from private institutions and from the government - including North Sea oil revenues - on a large scale into our industrial priorities. The bank will attract and channel savings, by agreement, in a way that guarantees these savings and improves the quality of investment in the UK.

...in other words, a sovereign wealth fund?

Fellow Traveller

Yes, the 'loony left' Labour Party of 1983 put forward policies that make sense to the sheiks of Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, no doubt because they hates our freedoms.

Chris Williams

I once heard the late and frankly unlamented Alan Clarke claim that in 1979 his position was for the Tories to have done the same: use the North Sea revenues to recapitalise British manufacturing industry, not piss them away in tax cuts to estate agents. The model he referred to was Singapore.

ajay

Of course, the interesting question was always how a programme designed to secure:'a fundamental and irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people and their families' got characterized as ‘suicide.’

Because... they lost the election?

Ken MacLeod

It was characterized that way before they lost the election, if I remember right.

jamie

Because... they lost the election?

I think it got called that when it was issued, before the election took place.

"That particular question becomes very boring just as soon as you remember the average salaries of BBC employees at editorial level..."

They weren't at that stage, though I recall a lot of quite open vamping for the SDP. Remember that Clive James hit piece on Foot, not that he didn't present a wide open target.

Chris Brooke

The fundamental and irreversible quote comes from Labour's 1974 manifesto; the "longest suicide note in history" remark about the 1983 manifesto is usually attributed to Gerald Kaufman.

ejh

Yes, that sounds right to me.

It's the only manifesto I've ever campaigned for, in the sense of actually going round canvassing. This is probably attributable less to its radicalism than to

(a) the proposed election date getting earlier and earlier until it was, in the end, held six frustrating days before my eighteenth birthday ;

(b) a newspaper poll in my solidly-Labour town showing the three parties pretty much neck-and-neck a few days before polling and therefore obliging me, my A-Levels having just finished, to get off my arse and "do something".

(In the event, the Conservatives beat the SDP by a few hundred votes, Labour finishing third by a margin of several thousand.)

ajay

Quick bit of googling: Kaufman it was who called it "the longest suicide note in history", and the quote is sourced to Denis Healey in his 1989 autobiography "The Time of My Life".

I can't search inside the book to find out when Healey says Kaufman said it, but I strongly suspect that Ken MacLeod is misremembering. Kaufman was a shadow cabinet minister both before (Environment) and after (Home and Foreign) the 1983 election. It's highly unlikely that he would have said, in public, a few weeks before the election, something like "Our manifesto is the longest suicide note in history".

Igor Belanov

Ajay,

You have to remember as well that there were a number of leading figures in the Labour Party that were quite keen for a defeat in the 1983 election in order to provide an excuse for discrediting and defeating the left.

By the mid to late 1990's some of these people were rather dismayed that Kinnock and Blair made such a good job of this.

ajay

Igor:
Yes, I know. Anyone got a copy of the Healey book to settle this?

jamie

I don't have the Healey book 1983 was the first election I voted in, and I do remember the quote going around at the time, even to the point of getting a riposte: Hattersley saying that at 30-something pages, it only seemed long.

What I don't remember is it being attributed specifically to Kaufman at the time, though Labour were in such an appalling way back then that I can quite easily conceive of the Healeyites going public with it out of either despair or malice, or some combination of the two.

Alex

I once heard the late and frankly unlamented Alan Clark claim that in 1979 his position was for the Tories to have done the same: use the North Sea revenues to recapitalise British manufacturing industry, not piss them away in tax cuts to estate agents.

I think Michael Heseltine said something similar; huge gulf between say and do, of course.

Interestingly, points 2, 3, and 4 all got implemented at least in part.

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