Archives for posts with tag: Keating

[A]dopting an incomes policy was like jumping out of a second storey window: nobody in his right mind would do it unless the stairs were on fire… The stairs were aflame in Australia in 1983, when the Hawke Government won office.  –Peter Cook.

The Accord is back in fashion. The past few months have seen a lot of pining for the “Hawke-Keating model,” particularly the compact between the two wings of the labour movement. A lot of the discussion seems to me to lack a sense of what made the Accord necessary (in the eyes of the protagonists), what made the Accord possible, and the ways in which our current circumstances differ from those of 1983.

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In mid-1983, Michael Foot led the British Labour Party to a disastrous general election loss. The party, already in opposition, lost 60 seats in a 9.3% swing against it. Labour barely scraped into second place ahead of the SDP-Liberal alliance, with just 27.6% of the vote. Foot’s economically interventionist manifesto and socialist rhetoric were blamed for the scale of the loss.

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