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By Mark Wickham-Jones

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In government, party leaders have been more independent and able to ignore the party conference. In opposition the conference has re-asserted itself. Such changes took place in the 1960s. The Labour government was able to ignore a hostile conference and proceed with its own policies. The result was a divergence within the party. By the late 1960s the NEC, senior union leaders and party research staff were all taking, on one issue or another, positions critical of the Labour government. In opposition the conference once again asserted itself.

The New Left A further source of opposition to Revisionism came in the late 1950s from the 'New Left' and especially the work of Michael Barratt Brown and John Hughes. 32 Although a major manifestation of the New Left was in terms of cultural disaffection, its members also challenged Revisionist economic arguments. 33 In 1957 the journal Universities and Left Review produced a pamphlet, The Insiders, as a direct rebuttal of Industry and Society. It argued that shareholders remained important and that their interests were not divergent, either from each other or from managers.

102 For Beer, Labour is 'boisterously pluralistic'. 103 The Nature of Social Democracy 31 Shifts in relationships within Labour have often mirrored the shift between government and opposition. In government, party leaders have been more independent and able to ignore the party conference. In opposition the conference has re-asserted itself. Such changes took place in the 1960s. The Labour government was able to ignore a hostile conference and proceed with its own policies. The result was a divergence within the party.

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