Modernising the Labour Party offers a detailed analysis of the internal reform of the Labour Party since 1983. It identifies two stages of reform that sought to make Labour electable: Neil Kinnock's battle against the left in the 1980s, and the conflict between modernisers and traditionalists over the last decade. The book shows how organisational change in policy-making, parliamentary candidate selection, and the election of the party leader transformed Labour's power structure. Reforms such as one-member-one-vote emasculated the activist left and weakened Labour's institutional links with the trade unions. A unique feature of the book is its accessible rational choice account of party change. A 'political exchange' model is used to examine the changing relationship between Labour, its members and the unions. Two trends are evident: firstly a shift away from the exchange of union money for institutionalised influence in the party, in favour of exchange between party leaders and individual party members; and secondly a structure in which power is increasingly centralised. Thomas Quinn questions whether such unbalanced exchange can continue without causing membership decline and union disaffiliation.

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