In this, the fourth volume of Tony Benn’s diaries, the Labour Government continues its fight for survival. Important developments are occurring both at home and internationally. In Britain, Benn as Secretary of State for Energy is directly involved with Windscale and decisions about nuclear power and oil policy. Abroad, the Government is concerned with Carter’s reappraisal of American foreign policy, the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and problems of EEC membership. In the Labour party itself, new forces of radicalism and reform are emerging, resulting in changes in Labour’s policies and the ultimate formation of the SDP. Labour’s unsuccessful economic policy and the widening rift with the labour movement lead to the Winter of Discontent and a near state of emergency. With Labour voters defecting, the scene is set for the Thatcher years.
1963 saw Labour's emergence from its 'wilderness years' in Opposition, and the election of Harold Wilson following the unexpected death of Hugh Gaitskell. In the first Wilson government of 1964 Benn was made Postmaster General and became known as an innovator for his introduction of the Giro and arguing for a radical broadcasting policy. After…
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