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By Mark Wickham-Jones

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Extra info for Economic Strategy and the Labour Party: Politics and Policy-Making, 1970-83

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Managers were still motivated by profits: most of their benefits 'can only be derived through the profits of corporate enterprise'. 34 Moreover, through interlinked holdings, shareholders were able to exercise considerable influence across the economy. Michael Barratt Brown argued that directors of firms, rather than managers, made overall policy decisions and that many directors were nominated by banks and other important shareholders. 35 He suggested that there was an interlocking network within British capitalism made up of an elite group holding multiple directorships.

McKenzie was unclear about exactly what form these powers took. 90 Minkin provides considerable (but qualified) detail of the organisational procedures with which leaders are able to dominate Labour. Central is the ability of the Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC) and the NEC as the platform to manipulate the party conference. 91 The third and last feature which indicated the dominance of the leadership was that the NEC has been supportive of the PLP. Trade unions dominated the voting for most of the places on the NEC.

Loyalty is conditional. Union leaders cannot always deliver the block vote of their union, regardless of its political views. The loyalty that Labour leaders receive will reflect a particular alignment of unions which will change over time. The support Labour leaders enjoyed in the 1950s reflected an arrangement of trade unions which gradually unravelled. Changes in the relative sizes of unions were important. Over time leftwing unions such as the Transport 30 Economic Strategy and the Labour Party and General Workers and the Engineers became larger and more influential.

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