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Labour Party (Caroline Era)

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The British Labour Party was a major centre-left political party significant in parliamentary politics in the twentieth century. After the "Winter Of Discontent" of 1978-9, Labour lost the election and there was a leadership contest in 1980 won by Denis Healey. Healey went on to win the 1984 general election and the Parliamentary Labour Party generally reversed most of the policies of the preceding Thatcher government as well as abolishing bloodsports, banning boxing (which went underground) and establishing the National Health Development Organisation. Labour's second term, from 1988, involved a coalition with a number of other parties including the Liberals, Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru, the Scottish Nationalist Party, the Ecology Party, the Cornish Nationalist Party and the Wessex Regionalists. This coalition was made on a number of conditions: that a referendum be held on the independence of the nations and on the regionalisation of England into a federation of states, and that a number of electoral reforms be made, including the introduction of STV and fixed parliaments at the end of the term.

Labour was the dominant party in the coalition and stayed popular but pursued two unpopular policies in 1991: the introduction of a Social Wage and the nationalisation of the breweries, which were however supported by the other parties in the interests of their long-term goals. In 1992, the coalition introduced an online system for elections and frequent national referenda, which was available in libraries and domestically, though careful security guaranteed that each member could only vote once. This system was first used in the 1993 General Election, by which time the non-Labour members of the coalition had formed a group known as the Federalist Alliance

In the 1993 election, which was triggered by the breakup of the coalition, the online voting system was used combined with two referenda, one on devolution (and federalism in England) and the other on electoral reform. The result was an outright Federalist victory. Scotland, Wales and Cornwall all became completely independent nations, Ireland was unified and England became regionalised into six federal states.

The Labour Party had consistently pursued Butskellism throughout their terms in Government after the Second World War, as had the Conservative Party with the exception of the Thatcher years. It was noted that the combined vote for the Conservative and Labour parties would have enabled a majority government to have been formed. They also found they had common ground in other areas: they both supported FPTP voting and they were both Unionist (particularly because many Labour MPs had had seats in Scotland and Wales). In 1994, the Labour Party merged with the Conservatives to form the Unionist Party.

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