Letter to P M Callaghan from Labour Party members, 1977 (catalogue reference: PREM 16/1355)

11 September 2014

14:00 Talks Room

Over thirty years later, the 'winter of discontent' of 1978-1979 still resonates in British politics. On 22 January 1979, 1.5 million workers were on strike. Industrial unrest swept Britain in an arctic winter. Militant shop stewards blocked medical supplies to hospitals; mountains of rubbish remained uncollected; striking road hauliers almost brought the country to a standstill; even the dead were left unburied. Within weeks the Callaghan Government lost the 1979 election and Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. Professor John Shepherd explores the origins, character and impact of a turbulent period of industrial unrest in British history when diplomatic relations between government and unions broke down.

John Shepherd is Professor of Modern British History at the University of Huddersfield and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is the author of Crisis? What Crisis? The Callaghan Government and the British 'Winter of Discontent' (Manchester University Press, 2013). Currently, he is writing the biography of Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Labour Party Policy Review Co-ordinator. 

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