The industrial strife that beset the Callaghan government in the winter of 1978–79, the ‘winter of discontent’, was seen at the time as a key factor in Labour’s defeat in the 1979 general election. On 22 January 2009 – the 30th anniversary of that winter’s first public sector ‘day of action’ – the British Academy hosted a panel discussion that brought together modern scholars and those who had been involved at the time, to consider the continuing significance of these events. Joint convenors of the occasion, Dr Hugh Pemberton and Dr Lawrence Black, here provide an account of the evening’s lively debate – which began with a presentation by Professor Colin Hay that sought to offer new perspectives.
• Hugh Pemberton and Lawrence Black
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