The Politics of Defiance

  • Michael Moran
Part of the Studies in Policy Making book series


Studies in the politics of public policy — especially studies of legislation — tend to follow a familiar pattern. They move from an examination of the origins of a measure through an analysis of its development until the point where it reaches fruition either as a law or as some other decision of government.1 The implicit assumption is that what happens afterwards is the concern of others, such as specialists in the particular field with which the policy is concerned. As a rough and ready division of academic labour this probably makes sense; yet clearly any discussion of the politics of the Industrial Relations Act which stopped at the point where it reached the statute book would be quite incomplete. The most interesting feature of the Act was that the attempt to make it work failed, and did so largely because of the behaviour of key interest groups. This chapter tells the story of resistance to the legislation, in particular the campaign waged against it by the unions. But the account given here is highly selective, effectively ending in the summer of 1972. This means that some of the most spectacular cases of resistance — in particular those involving the AUEW — are only dealt with briefly. This is because the argument here is that by the autumn of 1972 the unions had won the key battle with the Government: the jailing of the London dockers and the success of the TUC’s nonregistration campaign combined to ensure that the Act would no longer be an important part of the Government’s strategy.


Industrial Relation Mandatory Policy General Council Institutional Interest Trade Union Movement 
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© Michael Moran 1977

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  • Michael Moran

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