Callaghan 1976-1979

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  • Callaghan 76-79
    • Seen as a 'safe pair of hands'
      • long experience and good links with unions
        • ideal leader to maintain party unity - not easy as by election defeats in 76 reduced their majority
    • Issues over economy
      • December 1976
        • Denis Healey went to the IMF for an emergency loan of £3 billion
          • In return, govt. had to make big spending cuts
            • Political opponents saw this as humiliating
      • Economy recovered after IMF
        • BUT reinforced image of Britain in decline
          • C = giving away Britain's economic independance
          • L left = caving into capitalism and privatisation
            • Callaghan did maintain unity but there was a growth of leftist militancy in some public sector trade unions and in local councils
        • North Sea Oil came on stream. 1978 - 9 oilfields in prod.
          • inflation rates fell
            • economists divided over improvement - economic problems exaggerated?
    • Lib-Lab Pact
      • 1977
      • Deal = 12 Liberal MPs voted for the govt in parliament
        • In return: Callaghan promised to move ahead with the devolution of Wales and Scotland
          • pressure from Lib - referendums took place
    • 'Winter of Discontent' - 78-79
      • had devastating impact on public mood and the fate of C's govt.
      • Industrial unrest
        • transport - through strikes by lorry drivers and train drivers union
      • Public sector workers
        • hospital porters
        • clerical staff in local councils
        • dustmen and grave diggers
      • Furious response from public
        • Mountains of uncollected rubbish, funerals postponed etc
          • Images dominated media
      • Showed govt. weakness
        • "labour isn't working" poster - symbol of L's weaknesses
          • ELECTION: L = 269 seats C = 339 seats


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