Euan McColm

John Smith and Robin Cook at a Labour Party conference in Blackpool at a time when leader Neil Kinnock was fighting to make the party electable. Picture: PA

Euan McColm: Don’t expect branch office to save Labour again

For much of the 1980s, the Labour Party lost its mind. Unable to understand the appeal of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives, Labour believed that only a shift to the left would win over a sceptical electorate. Right-leaning tabloids caricatured the official opposition as “loony lefties”. This relentless ridicule was not always unjustified. The behaviour of some Labour councillors – in Liverpool, for example, where militants used taxis to deliver redundancy notices – was frequently appalling.

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