Militant Liverpool: A City on the Edge

Militant Liverpool: A City on the Edge

Militant Liverpool: A City on the Edge

Militant Liverpool: A City on the Edge

Excerpt

In 1985 Margaret Thatcher was mid-way through her second period in office and had both defeated the ‘enemy without’, the Argentines in the South Atlantic, and the ‘enemy within’, the National Union of mineworkers at home. Trade unions had been tamed, public spending cut massively and public services privatised. Mrs Thatcher proclaimed that ‘there is no such thing as society’ (McSmith 2011) and referred instead to individuals and markets. Long term processes of deindustrialisation and the move towards a service economy had led to the destruction of manufacturing and the onset of mass unemployment, especially in the UK’s northern cities. Labour had been reduced by its biggest election defeat in history in 1983. The Tories seemed indestructible. At the Labour Party Conference in October 1985, the then Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock made what was widely regarded as the speech of his life, a major element of Labour’s return to respectability. It was a speech that went down in history. Kinnock said:

I’ll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with
a far-fetched series of resolutions, and these are then pickled into a

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