The Myth that Labour’s 1983 manifesto was too left wing

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One of the most enduring and longstanding myths of British politics is that Labour lost the 1983 general election because it was too left wing, fighting the election on a manifesto that ensured it was unelectable. In words that have become engraved in the nation’s history, Labour’s Gerald Kaufman described the ’83 Labour manifesto as ‘the longest suicide note in history’, which is how it is still regarded over three decades on.

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the urgent need to restore détente and dialogue between the states and the peoples of the world. We will actively pursue dialogue with the Soviet Union and China, and will urge the American government to do so. We will work consistently for peace and disarmament, and devote all our efforts to pulling the world back from the nuclear abyss. Labour will dedicate some of the resources currently wasted on armaments to projects designed to promote both security and human development.

An essential difference between the Labour and the Tory approach is that we have a foreign policy that will help liberate the peoples of the world from oppression, want and fear. We seek to find ways in which social and political progress can be achieved and to identify the role that Britain can play in this process.

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