In this, the fourth volume of Tony Benn's diaries, the Labour Government continues its fight for survival. Important developments are occurring both at home and internationally. In Britain, Benn as Secretary of State for Energy is directly involved with Windscale and decisions about nuclear power and oil policy. Abroad, the Government is concerned with Carter's reappraisal of American foreign policy, the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and problems of EEC membership.In the Labour party itself, new forces of radicalism and reform are emerging, resulting in changes in Labour's policies and the ultimate formation of the SDP.Labour's unsuccessful economic policy and the widening rift with the labour movement lead to the Winter of Discontent and a near state of emergency. With Labour voters defecting, the scene is set for the Thatcher years.
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Tony Benn, who first entered Parliament in 1950, has been Labour MP for Chesterfield since March 1984. He was elected to the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party in 1959, and was the Chairman of the Party in 1971-2. He has been a Cabinet Minister in every Labour Government since 1964, holding the position of Postmaster General, Minister of Technology and Minister of Power. From 1974-9 he was secretary of State for Energy and one-time President of the Council of Energy Ministers of the European Community. He contested the leadership of the Labour party in 1976 and in 1988. He is the author of eleven books, including Arguments for Socialism, Arguments for Democracy. The previous volumes of Diaries, Out of the Wilderness, Office Without Power and Against the Tide, have all been published to great critical acclaim. He holds four Honorary Doctorates from British and American Universities. He is married to Caroline, and they have four children and six grandchildren.
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