Research

The man at the back – Lord Tom Sawyer and the modernisation of the Labour Party.

  • 12 December 2018
  • 4.00PM - 6.00PM
  • Not a public event  |  Booking required: Yes
  • CL1.01, Clarendon Building  |  Directions

About | The man at the back – Lord Tom Sawyer and the modernisation of the Labour Party.



Chris Massey will present this seminar which recasts the modernisation of the Labour Party and trade union movement in the 1980s and 1990s by emphasising the decisive role of Tom Sawyer. Sawyer, as the Deputy General Secretary of the National Union for Public Employees (1983-94) and as Labour’s General Secretary (1994-98), played the greatest individual part in the birth of New Labour, outside of Neil Kinnock, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (Rosen, 2011). Yet his seminal role has been overlooked in the historiography of this period. Using untapped source material: the Sawyer Diaries and Archive, this paper provides an original insight into contemporary British politics, the Labour Party and the unions by re-examining Sawyer’s contribution towards the renewal of the labour movement. Through an examination of Sawyer’s internal party management, policy reviews, and election planning this research sheds new light on the foundation of New Labour and the party’s 1997 General Election victory.



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