The longest suicide note in history

The longest suicide note in history

"The longest suicide note in history" is an epithet originally used by United Kingdom Labour Party MP Gerald Kaufman[1] to describe his party's left-wing 1983 election manifesto.


The document

The New Hope for Britain[2] called for unilateral nuclear disarmament, withdrawal from the European Economic Community, abolition of the House of Lords, and the re-nationalisation of recently de-nationalised industries like British Telecom, British Aerospace, and the British Shipbuilding Corporation.

The epithet referred not only to the orientation of the policies, but also to their marketing. Labour leader Michael Foot decided as a statement on internal democracy that the manifesto would consist of all resolutions arrived at its party conference, making the manifesto over 700 pages long.

The document's far-left policies, along with the popularity gained by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher over the Falklands War, contributed to a victory with a substantial majority in Parliament for the incumbent Conservative party.[citation needed] The defeat led to a turning point in the history of the party, which thereafter adopted more free market principles and amended Clause IV in its constitution.

Other uses of the phrase

It has subsequently been used by Peter Gutmann in his paper "A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection" to describe the Digital Rights Management schemes in the Windows Vista operating system.[3]

Dutch VVD politician Mark Rutte used the phrase in reference to the election program of the Dutch Labour Party, during the May 2010 parliamentary election campaign, deliberately echoing Kaufman.[4]

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer compared the 2012 Republican House Budget to the manifesto (in terms of comparable unpopularity) and then remarked about the House Budget, "At 37 footnotes, it might be the most annotated suicide note in history."[5]


See also

  • List of UK Labour Party general election manifestos

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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