It would later be recalled as "Misery Monday" by the media.[35]. There may currently be uncertainty surrounding Brexit now, but 40 years ago, the UK was plunged into chaos. Not only that, the temperature was very low, and the wind was "enough to cut you in half". Throughout most of the following month, the cold lingered, only for temperatures to rise well above 10 °C (50 °F) around Christmas. In 1981, still believing the party to have been too firmly controlled by the unions, William Rodgers, the former transport minister who had tried to mitigate the effect of the hauliers' strike, left with three dozen other disaffected Labourites to form the more centrist Social Democratic Party (SDP), a decision he recalls reaching with some difficulty. "The embeddedness of a memory infused with a mix of errors, political fact and evocative images is particularly interesting in understanding the Winter of Discontent because it intimates the broader historical significance of this series of events", she wrote[50], The Winter of Discontent also had effects within the Labour Party. I have read a lot about that period when Britain was at its lowest ebb and almost fell to international guardianship because the economy was in total shambles. Vintage 1978 Fashion Clothes. Later in the month many public workers followed suit as well. Callaghan was then asked (by a reporter from the Evening Standard) "What is your general approach, in view of the mounting chaos in the country at the moment?" The announcement of actual sanctions produced an immediate protest from the Confederation of British Industry which announced that it would challenge their legality. The pay limit was officially termed "Phase IV" but most referred to it as "the 5 per cent limit". [34], Some hauliers attempted to return to work without waiting for an offer. Most unionists, she allowed, did not support such extreme tactics. [9] As part of the campaign to bring down inflation, the government had agreed a "Social Contract" with the TUC which allowed for a voluntary incomes policy in which the pay rises for workers were held down to limits set by the government. What Crisis?" "I have staked my political reputation and credibility on making it clear that there will be no return to the 1970s", he wrote. Their unions were also frustrated that their growing numbers had not yet translated into corresponding influence within the TUC. After that, he wrote, the outlook was unclear, with pressure from the government's own incomes policy likely. There was a deep covering of snow, and more was falling. 27 Answers. In the year that the oil tanker 'Amoco Cadiz' ran aground on rocks off the coast of Brittany with the resulting spillage causing much damage to marine life, Pope John Paul the Second became the first ever Polish Pope and The states of Tuvalu and Solomon Islands became independent from the United Kingdom. [45] The gravediggers eventually settled for a 14 per cent rise after a fortnight off the job. On 29 January, lorry drivers in the South West accepted a deal awarded by an arbitration panel of a rise of up to 20 per cent, just £1 per week less than the union had been striking for; this settlement proved a model which was accepted throughout the country. It also created a National Industrial Relations Court to handle disputes and put unions under a central registry to enforce their rules. At the end of the year a road hauliers' strike began, coupled with a severe storm as 1979 began. According to weather historian Philip Eden, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all seen their coldest winter season since the ‘Winter of Discontent’ in 1978/79. Terry Duffy, the delegate from Liverpool Wavertree Constituency Labour Party and a supporter of the Militant group, moved a motion on 2 October which demanded "that the Government immediately cease intervening in wage negotiations". Cool Summer and Dry Autumn. It was characterised by widespread strikes by private, and later public, sector trade unions demanding pay rises greater than the limits Prime Minister James Callaghan and his Labour Party government had been imposing, against Trades Union Congress (TUC) opposition, to control inflation. 1978: Labour faces vote of confidence The Prime Minister, James Callaghan, has challenged MPs to decide if his government should remain in power or face the people in an early general election. Healey also privately expressed scepticism about the achievability of the limit. Blizzards. [7], Heath as a result turned to an incomes policy; inflation continued to worsen. February 1979. Storms in late February prolonged the isolation of the remote communities where roads had not been cleared yet. The NE was particularly badly affected in the third week. November 1978. A group in the Shropshire town of Oakengates organised a convoy, but it was unable to leave town as the ungritted roads proved too slippery to drive.[35]. The recently elected prime minister Margaret Thatcher stated, “We've seen picketing that threatens to bring the country to its knees—emptying our shops, endangering our farms, closing our factories, taking our jobs.… May 2020 Report – Warm, Dry and Sunny Again, April 2020 Monthly Weather Report – Very Warm and Dry, New Telescopes Category Added To The Shop, Incredible Red Sunset in Durham April 26th 2020, A Walk around the Riverside during lockdown. In the winter of 1978-79 in Britain, strikes crippled the entire country, stopping food deliveries, medical services, and even proper burial of the dead. Rodgers in particular was opposed to it, since the available troops could at best only make up for a very small portion of the striking drivers, and it might be possible to use them more effectively without declaring an emergency. December 2015 - Freakishly mild, but wild and wet. 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The newspaper used the images at the end of a lengthy leader lamenting the state of affairs in Britain. [n 1] On 21 July 1978 Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey introduced a new white paper which set a guideline for pay rises of 5 per cent in the year from 1 August. "The next morning, we awoke to an almost unbelievable scene. comment. [44] Bolton later reported being "horrified" by the sensationalised reportage of the strike in the mass media. [36], The next day's edition of The Sun headlined its story "Crisis? The album hit number 3 on the UK Album Chart and number 14 on US Billboard 200. Most watched News videos. Coal miners officially went on strike for the first time in almost half a century in 1972; after two months the strike was settled with the miners getting a 21 per cent increase, less than half of what they had originally sought. [33], A further plan was drawn up to call a state of emergency and safeguard essential supplies through the Army, regarding which the government warned the TGWU leadership, which resulted in the union accepting on 12 January 1979 a list of emergency supplies which were officially exempt from action. At midday in Tynemouth the temperature was -3C with a wind of 50 mph. Tri-Staters endured the worst blizzard in recorded history and a record month of snow in January, 1978. [20], To implement the media strategy, the party hired the advertising firm of Saatchi & Saatchi, whose 1978 "Labour Isn't Working" campaign has been credited with persuading Callaghan not to hold an election that year. The Winter of Discontent was driven by a combination of different social, economic and political factors which had been developing for over a decade. In 1978, inflation finally fell below 10%. [52], Some of the union officials involved, on the other hand, never changed their positions on the strikes. Cold, snow, wind; enormous snow drifts, low visibilities: whiteout! Many places in the east, southeast, and Midlands were cut off for several days, with power cuts (which is what I hate most about snow and wind). The phrase Winter of Discontent refers to the British winter of 1978-1979, when widespread strikes marked the largest stoppage of labour since the 1926 General Strike as the working classes and the Trade Unions rebelled against the Labour Party government of James Callaghan, the Prime Minister 1976-79.The period was marked by food shortages, power cuts, household refuse uncollected, and … 1978-79 The weather, and industrial unrest, meant that the abiding image of this winter is one of picketing men and women warming their hands on a brazier. What Crisis?" He concluded that the following October or November would be the best option, as the economy was likely to remain in good shape through then. The defeats of the 1970s have been internalized—even by those that had once been the most powerful counterforces to neoliberalism." On 21 February, a settlement of the local authority workers' dispute was agreed, whereby workers got an 11 per cent rise, plus £1 per week, with the possibility of extra rises, should a pay comparability study recommend them. On 1 March, referendums on devolution to Scotland and Wales were held. [7], Two weeks later, the government responded by calling an election, running on the slogan "Who Governs Britain?". Yet, "the more the specter of 'the 1970s' is raised in British political discourse, the less the reality of the past is actually discussed ... For modern British Conservatism, the 1970s can thus serve as an empty signifier, its power dependent on eternal repetition of a memory from which even those who lived it are excluded. Once again roads were impassable in the south; in the north and at higher elevations areas that had not yet recovered from the storm three weeks prior were newly afflicted. It is often cited as one of the most severe blizzards in US history. Union membership, particularly in the public sector, had grown more female and less white, and the growth of the public sector unions had not brought them a commensurate share of power within the TUC. Two decades later, Colin Hay, "The winter of discontent thirty years on. [3], In 1968 Wilson's government appointed the Donovan Commission to review British labour law with an eye toward reducing the days lost to strikes every year; many Britons had come to believe the unions were too powerful despite the country's economic growth since the war. January 1979, with an average temperature of −1.4 °C (29.5 °F), was the seventeenth coldest January since records began to be kept in 1659; in the years since only two other winter months in Britain (February 1986 and December 2010) have had average temperatures below freezing. Very warm until a northerly outbreak on the 24th. Thatcher, and later other Conservatives like Boris Johnson, have continued to invoke the Winter of Discontent in election campaigns; it would be 18 years until another Labour government took power. People in the UK were unhappiest in 1978: The 'Winter of Discontent' was the least happy time. The government subsequently entered into intense negotiations with the TUC, hoping to produce an agreement on pay policy that would prevent disputes and show political unity in the run-up to the general election. Mar 14, 2017 - France, Paris, 10 April 1978. Growth of the durhamweather.co.uk website over the last year. Sight & Sound Magazine Winter 1978/9. However, at the Met Office, we often use a meteorological definition of the seasons. The 15th was particularly cold and snowy: large difts in the east, with many places cut off, particularly in Lincolnshire. The ensuing strike, in Liverpool and in Tameside near Manchester, was later frequently referred to by Conservative politicians. Lots of Snow in that time [56] Red Pepper, in a page on its website devoted to refuting the Tory narrative of the 1970s, echoes this and further blames the Bank of England's loosening of credit restrictions during and after the Heath government as driving inflation so high, rather than union pay demands; it also attributes the economic rebound under Thatcher to the revenues from North Sea oil instead of her labour law reforms. The winter of 1962–63 remains the coldest since at least 1895 in all meteorological districts of the United Kingdom except Scotland North, where the two winters of 1978–79 and 2009–10 were colder. and replied: Well, that's a judgment that you are making. Party members privately expressed great disappointment with Callaghan and his Cabinet that the government had not taken the opportunity to put its plan before the public. This in his opinion came despite Labour's hold on the youth vote, much more in its favour than it had been in 1983, when voters aged 18–24 preferred Thatcher. It was characterised by widespread strikes by private, and later public, sector trade unions demanding pay rises greater than the limits Prime Minister James Callaghan and his Labour Party government had been imposing, against Trades Union Congress (TUC) opposition, to control inflation. Ethiopian Airlines UK & European Timetable, 8 November 1978 - 31 March 1979, folds open to 2 panels, each side. "[36] Callaghan would be closely associated with the phrase for the rest of his life. Additionally, NHS ancillary workers formed picket lines to blockade hospital entrances with the result that many hospitals were reduced to taking emergency patients only.[2]. [3], In the 1970s, following the surge in radical left-wing politics of the late 1960s, that view was challenged in another Labour figure's book, Stuart Holland's The Socialist Challenge. It became known as the winter of discontent. It was as if the Arctic had escaped and visited itself on the West Country. [55], Some leftists have joined the criticism of labour actions during the Winter of Discontent. There was a gust of 115 mph at Fair Isle on the 14th. Credit : Evening Standard/Getty Images Dispatched with Royal Mail 2nd Class Large Letter. There was then a maximum of only -7C at Abbotsinch. Second Show... he was loaded yes, and that fits with the song! Some left-wing local authorities, among them the London Borough of Camden, conceded the union demands in full (known as the "Camden surplus") and then saw an investigation by the District Auditor, which eventually ruled it a breach of fiduciary duty[n 2] and therefore illegal. Many of the strikes were initiated at the local level, with national union leaders largely unable to stop them. For other uses, see, Divisions in Labour Party over macroeconomic strategy, "Stepping Stones" and hardening of Conservative position on unionism, As 21st-century Conservative talking point, And therefore a second trigger for a rise in, Owed to the payers, the ratepayers of the area, The significance of a comprehensive agreement on. Weather of the media. [ 26 ], within unions, power was also often cold snowy. The past 47 years to make it into the coldest on record Bolton later reported being `` horrified '' the... The incomes policy ; inflation continued to fall through 1977 and by 1978 annual... 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