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Glossary - N

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Capital city of Nagasaki Prefecture (unification of former provinces of Hizen, Tsushima, and Ikiin) in Japan

National Economic Development Council

Economic planning forum set up in 1962 in an attempt to explain and resolve Britain's relatively slow economic growth. It involved management, trade unions and government. Abolished by John Major in 1992

National Enterprise Board

Government body set up by the Industry Act 1975 to implement Harold Wilson's plans to increase public ownership of industry. Under Margaret Thatcher its powers were increasingly limited and it was combined to form the British Technology Group, which was privatised in 1991

National Farmers' Union

Founded in 1908, it is the largest farmers' association in England and Wales, championing the interests of British farmers (and growers) and providing them with professional representation and services

National Front

A British political party formed by a number of racist, neo-fascist and right-wing groups. It aimed to halt the immigration of black citizens from the commonwealth, repatriate immigrants and withdraw from the European Economic Community (EEC). Although it won no parliamentary seats, it earned notoriety for its racist demonstrations. The party split in 1982

National Government

A government formed of all parties, normally put into effect in times of great economic difficulty. The Great Depression forced Ramsay MacDonald to form a National Government in 1931

National Incomes Commission

Set up in 1962 by the Conservative Government to consider wage claims as part of an attempt to introduce an effective, anti-inflationary incomes policy. Mostly ineffectual, as it was boycotted by both employers and unions and dissolved by Harold Wilson in 1965

National Liberation Front

The Federation of South Arabia led to the set up of the National Liberation Front (NLF) to fight for independence. It was a 1963 plan to grant independence for Aden. The 'Emergency' continued until late 1967 when the British withdrew, leaving the ex-colony in the hands of the NLF

National Nuclear Corporation

Set up in 1973 to consolidate the nuclear design and construction industry, especially to oversee the introduction of the new range of fast reactors, designed to provide cheap electricity following the Oil Crisis of 1973

National Transport Workers' Federation

An association of British trade unions formed in 1910 to co-ordinate the activities of various organisations representing dockers, seamen, tramwaymen and road transport workers. In 1914 it joined forces with the Miners' Federation and the National Union of Railwaymen to form the Triple Alliance

National Union of Mineworkers

Founded in 1945 as a reorganisation of the Miners Federation, it participated in a number of major disputes, especially with Edward Heath's government in the 1970s over pay and conditions

National Union of Railwaymen

Established in 1913 as an amalgamation of three railway unions, it catered for the majority of railway workers, including catering and maintenance staff. In 1914 it joined forces with the Miners' Federation and the National Transport Workers' Federation to form the Triple Alliance


The act of taking over an industry (or assets) and the industries then being owned and run by the national government. Nationalisation might be for economic reasons - to sustain loss-making industries, for example, or political - to allow people to have full democratic control over industries. Usually advocated by the political left

Naval ratings

A rate is a Royal Navy rank, held by a person below the rank of Warrant Officer, similar to a private in the army. A person who holds a rate is known as a rating. Rates are designated according to a rating's ability and responsibility; e.g. 'Ordinary', 'Able', or Petty Officer

Neville Chamberlain

Conservative Prime Minister 1937-1940 and advocate of appeasement. He negotiated the September 1938 Munich Agreement with Hitler over the Sudetenland and Czechoslovakia, claiming 'peace in our time'. When Hitler disregarded the agreement, he pledged military support for Poland, committing Britain to war with Germany September 1939. He resigned in 1940

'New' Commonwealth

Members of the British Commonwealth, ex-British colonies, with a predominantly non-white population, such as India, Pakistan and Nigeria

New Model Unions

New Model Unions were a variety of Trade Unions prominent  in the UK in the 1850s and 1860s. They were single craft unions considered to be more respectable because they were for skilled workers who were aware of their scarcity value. They tended to avoid strike action

Niall MacPherson

Scottish Tory politician and MP from 1945-1963. As Minister of Pensions and National Insurance 1962 he had to grapple with the conundrum of rising welfare costs and falling government income. On retirement from the Commons he was created Baron Drumalbyn

Nicholas Kaldor

Economist who developed a famous model for welfare comparisons in 1939. He is most famous for advising Labour governments in the 1960s and was influential in the development of VAT. Became Professor of Economics at Cambridge in 1966. Most well-known book is 'The Scourge of Monetarism'

Nikita Khrushchev

Soviet leader after Stalin. Set in motion the process of de-Stalinisation, claiming Stalin had committed 'crimes against the Party' and wrongfully killed millions. Supplied nuclear missiles to Castro's Cuba, precipitating the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 where the Soviets had to back down. Removed from power in 1964

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

Defence organisation set up to defend the West in the Cold War in 1949 following the Berlin Blockade. It signified continuing US support for the military defence of Western Europe. Since 1989 several Eastern European countries have joined the Alliance

North Korean Peoples' Army

Formed to fight the Japanese, it rapidly expanded after Korea was split following the Second World War. Equipped by Stalin, it invaded the South in 1950 to unify Korea. It is regarded as the 'vanguard of the revolution', a role usually played by the proletariat. Today it is the fourth largest army in the world

Northern Rhodesia

Former African British colony (modern Zambia) exploited for its copper reserves and unsuccessfully linked in a Central African Federation 1953-1963. Hydroelectric schemes on the Zambezi River in the early 1950s were central to British attempts to develop, leading ultimately to independence under President Kaunda in 1964


Situated in southern Africa, this is the name by which Malawi was known from 1907-1964

Nyon conference

Created separate patrol zones in the Western Mediterranean with nine countries agreeing to share the supervision, September 1937. This was the result of a number of attacks on shipping in the area, possibly in an attempt to prevent supplies reaching combatants in the Spanish Civil War