The main obstacle in the way of a Conservative return to power is a gut feeling by ordinary voters that Conservatives would not be able to handle industrial relations. Nearly all surveys of popular opinion show that people believe that Labour knows how to ‘get on with the unions’; yet paradoxically the unions at the same time are usually held to blame for the steadily worsening British economy, not least by members of trade unions themselves. Even if currency collapse or a sharp increase in unemployment were to bring the Labour Government down, most people suspect that the incoming Conservatives would find union consent denied them, or confrontation with the unions forced upon them. Thus indeed the most urgent political problem facing the Party in the next decade, whether in office or opposition, is not only how to appear, but how to be credible in handling industrial relations and dealing generally with trade unions as the most powerful group in the modern industrial state.
KeywordsIndustrial Relation Price Control Labour Party Social Spending Wage Policy
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