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By Hugh Berrington

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1979: very similar figures were recorded in previous years. dominated by their activist critics, forever denouncing the ‘bosses’ as dictatorial and unrepresentative. ) In the new climate, general secretaries were much more reluctant than in the past to offend their militant critics and offer new opportunities for divisive and possibly damaging struggles within their organisations; they did not see why they should complicate their already difficult lives by taking up positions unpopular with their domestic opponents, on issues peripheral to the needs and interests of the union itself.

They could, if united, dominate the National Executive Committee (NEC) where 18 of the 28 (later 29) seats were under their control. Their voting dominance at the Party Conference was much more complete, for their affiliated members outnumbered those who joined individually through constituency parties by about five to one, and in recent years—as the local parties dwindled—by as much as nine to one. Of course this gives an exaggerated impression of their political preponderance, since the unions were never agreed among themselves on matters of serious controversy within the party.

Martin’s Press, 1969), ch. 18, and ch. 8, p. 189 and 2nd Edition (London: Macmillan 1974), ch. 18. 34. Rokkan, Party Systems and Voter Alignments (London: Collier Macmillan, 1967). 35. Bleiman, Labour and Scottish Nationalism (London: Macmillan, 1979), chs. 3 and 4. 36. The Times, 27 May 1983. ), Politics of the Labour Party (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1982) for discussion of attitudes to centralisation in both the Conservative and Labour parties. 37. See Guardian, 14 June 1983. 38. Keating, ‘Labour and Scottish Nationalism: An Update’ Cencrastus, Spring 1983.

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