The surprise defeat of Mick Rix by a right winger for the position of General Secretary of the rail union, ASLEF, will have come as a great shock to many in the union and in the wider Labour and trade union movement. Certainly it was not something that could have been easily predicted or even guessed at. The winner, Shaun Brady, is an old-style right-winger, relatively unknown in the union. He talks about taking the union back to the membership but in reality he means the membership of the Strategic rail Authority, CBI and the City of London! How did this happen? What does it mean? What lessons must be learnt from this?

In this last article in her series on the History of the Labour Party, Barbara Humphries looks at how the turn to the left in the 1970s was cut across and how the present Blairite clique came to dominate the party, and draws the lessons for today's activists. The present turn to the right is nothing new in the party's history. As in the past it will be followed by a turn to the left.

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