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The Winter of DiscontentMyth, Memory, and History$
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Tara Martin López

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380291

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380291.001.0001

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Crosscurrents: Myth, Memory, and Counter-Memory

Crosscurrents: Myth, Memory, and Counter-Memory

(p.177) 8 Crosscurrents: Myth, Memory, and Counter-Memory
The Winter of Discontent

Tara Martin López

Liverpool University Press

The chapter details the evolution of the myth of the Winter of Discontent, beginning in during the General Election campaign of 1979 and continuing on into 1980s when the Conservative Party strategically revisited the Winter of Discontent to portray the labour movement, and social democracy, as bankrupt of vision.The chapter employs James Thomas’s assertion that the Conservative Party effectively used the Winter of Discontent to underline that there was no alternative to the Thatcherite project, which becomes apparent as the chapter charts New Labour’s assumption of the Conservative narrative of the Winter of Discontent. The chapter then returns to participants’ counter-memories in these strikes and argues that not only do they challenge the dominant myth of the Winter of Discontent, but the contrasting memories reveal how the Winter of Discontent came to be a political and cultural fulcrum point as the political space and legitimacy of trade union politics began to contract as that of gender expanded.

Keywords:   Winter of Discontent, General Election of 1979, Conservative Party, James Thomas, Thatcherite project, New Labour, strikes, myth, trade union politics, gender

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