Three decades after ‘The Winter of Discontent’ – the infamous winter of 1978–9 characterised by widespread strikes by public sector trade unions – that did so much to shape the mythology of the beginning of the Thatcher era, historians and political scientists now have full access to the public record of these times and are beginning to revisit and re-evaluate this critical period in the history of Britain’s political economy.
In this new SPERI paper Colin Hay, Co-Director of SPERI, reflects on some new book-length studies of this period that have been published since the opening of the archives. He considers the new evidence that they bring to light and asks if it provides the basis for an alternative assessment. In the Paper Colin seeks to clarify both what we now know and what we have still to learn about the crucial Events|News of ‘The Winter of Discontent’.
Download SPERI Paper No. 21: The Moment when ‘Then’ became ‘Now.