Preparation to “provoke a battle”: New Right Conservatism, the Trade Unions and the Conservative Party 1974 – 1984

Hawkins, James David. 2019. Preparation to “provoke a battle”: New Right Conservatism, the Trade Unions and the Conservative Party 1974 – 1984. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This research makes an original contribution to the literature on the relationship between the Conservative Party and trade union movement between 1974 and 1984. Through primary source material I analyse how an emergent New Right within the Conservative Party planned, prepared and enacted industrial conflict with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in 1984. This conflict was a result of ideological change in the Conservative Party, which saw internal cabinet opposition marginalised through a challenge to One Nation “wets” within the Cabinet. I argue that the government’s industrial policy counters statecraft interpretations of the Conservative Party at this time. This is demonstrated in the following key areas: the radicalism of the party’s industrial policy; the planning and preparation for industrial conflict; the creation of a recently unclassified “Hit List” of UK pit closures, one that was denied to full Cabinet scrutiny in 1984; and the use of direct government interference with the policing of “The Battle of Orgreave” and its aftermath. These actions fit the remit of The Ridley Report of 1977, a template for ideologically driven reform of which the desire to 'fragment’ nationalised industries was a precondition for denationalisation. I argue that a group within the Conservative Party pushed through these changes to construct a new relationship between labour, industry and government.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00026378

Keywords:

New Right Conservatism, Trade Unions, Conservative Party, National Union of Mineworkers, NUM, ideology, Tory wets, pit closures, industrial policy, industrial conflict, Cabinet, Battle of Orgreave, Ridley Report, nationalised industries

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Politics

Date:

28 February 2019

Item ID:

26378

Date Deposited:

31 May 2019 11:36

Last Modified:

01 Jun 2019 17:16

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/26378

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