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This programme is a case-study that serves as a basis for posing major questions about decision-making in Britain. The case-study examines the decision by Mr Harold Wilson's Labour Government, anno...unced on 18th June 1969, to abandon its plans for an Industrial Relations Bill. Using this episode as a basis, the programme encourages the student to ask questions about who makes decisions, within what constraints and within what formal or informal institutional framework. The programme consists largely of extracts from interviews with various leading figures who were involved in the issue; they include Mrs Barbara Castle MP, who as Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity was the Cabinet Minister directly responsible for the legislation; Mr Richard Crossman MP, who as another Cabinet Minister was involved in all the Cabinet discussions of the issue; Mr Douglas Houghton MP, who as Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party played a major role in various high level meetings and consultations about the proposed legislation; Mr Victor Feather, who as General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress was the chief spokesman for the unions in their negotiations with the Government; and Mr John Mackintosh MP, who as a Labour backbencher was involved in the discussions and lobbying on the issue that took place within the Parliamentary Labour Party, and is a former Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University. The programme is introduced by Dr David Murray, Professor of Government and Chairman of the Course Team, and Mr Peter Jenkins, author of a study of the issue, who acted as consultant for the case-study.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: D203, Decision making in Britain
Item code: D203; 01
First transmission date: 31-01-1972
Published: 1972
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:30
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Producer: John Radcliffe
Contributors: Barbara Castle; Richard Crossman; Vic Feather; Douglas Houghton; Peter Jenkins; John Mackintosh; David Murray; John Radcliffe
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Choice/selection of material; Editorial decisions; Information about society
Footage description: David Murray introduces both the course, of which this is the first programme, and the programme. Film is shown of the Wilson/Feather press conference at which it was announced that union legislation, proposed by the Labour Government, had been dropped. Peter Jenkins adds detail, over film. Jenkins introduces the intention of the programme which is to study how the decision was taken. Newsreel shots of members of the Cabinet arriving at no.10. Peter Jenkins questions Richard Crossman on the unity of the Cabinet when it was decided to put through union legislation. Richard Crossman replies. Barbara Castle is asked the same question She replies. Film is also shown of Barbara Castle speaking to the Scottish T.U.C. Peter Jenkins describes the further history of the proposed legislation and the pressure put upon the government by the Labour backbenchers. Douglas Houghton is interviewed to add to this. Peter Jenkins questions John Mackintosh to obtain Labour backbench opinion at the time. Peter Jenkins describes the mounting pressure on the government from the unions. Film of Trade Union Congress at Croydon June 1969. Jenkins also continues to outline the history of the legislation. Vic Feather is asked what he thought to be the most important influence on the government. Douglas Houghton is asked the same question. John Mackintosh, Barbara Castle and Richard Crossman are all also asked for their opinion as to the principal reason for the Government's back-down. They reply giving their opinions. David Murray points out a few of the questions that the programme raises. Credits.
Master spool number: 6HT/70282
Production number: 00525_2215
Available to public: no