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Where would you place New Labour on the ideological spectrum?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. 'New' Labour: the imprint of Thatcherism.
    1. The modernizers such as Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson.
    2. Ideological changes that seemed to bring Labour closer to the Conservatives.
    3. Labour's victory in 1997.
    4. The imprint of Thatcherism.
  3. The continuity with 'Old' Labour: a centre of the left party.
    1. Students of British politics.
    2. Continuity with the commitments of 'Old' Labour.
    3. Education as a field of greater state intervention.
  4. Conclusion.

Since its foundation in 1900, the British Labour Party has been in power eleven times, and has had five Prime Ministers. It was founded as a social-democratic party, close to the unions and advocating the rights of the working class. On June 2001, led by Tony Blair, it won its second General Election in a row, securing a second full term in power, something unprecedented for the party. Since he became leader in 1994 after the death of John Smith, Tony Blair has tried to reshape Labour's image and policies. This strategy has proved divisive, even among the party's ranks. Critics have argued that ?New? Labour ? as Blair branded it ? is merely a continuation of Thatcherism and that it has jettisoned its core values. As Ben Pimlott put it, in 1989, Labour was still ?known to be against privilege, social hierarchy, capitalism, personal wealth, inequality, unregulated markets, the powerful, the establishment, the upper classes, nationalistic fervour, military might; and in favour of equality, civil rights, state intervention, democracy, the working class, internationalism? .

[...] The leadership's discourse put the emphasis on individual freedom and personal responsibility, underlining the inadequacy of received ideological frameworks and abandoning utopian meta- narratives which had characterized labour movements across Europe[5]. A statement issued in 1999 by Tony Blair and the German Chancellor, Gerhardt Schröder (The Third Way, Der neue Mitte), highlighted some of New Labour core values. It said that essential function of markets must be complemented and improved by political action, not hampered by a statement opposed to the supposed dirigisme of Labour. [...]


[...] 79-92 Raymond Plant, ?Blair and Ideology?, in Seldon The Blair effect (Little, Brown, 2001), pp. 555-568 ?Gordon's golden fudge?, The Economist, December 13th 2003 ?Continental drift?, The Economist, April 20th 2002 Ben Pimlott, future of the in Robert Skidelski Thatcherism (Basil Blackwell, 1989), p Quoted in Steven Fielding, The Labour Party, continuity and change in the making of Labour, (Palgrave, 2003), p.79 Anthony Giddens, Where now for New Labour?, (Polity, 2002) Ben Pimlott, in Robert Skidelski Thatcherism, p Paul Kelly, ?Ideas and policy agendas in contemporary politics?, in Developments in British Politics 7 [...]

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