New Labour

   In the context of opposition to the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major between 1979 and 1997, and particularly after their 1987 election defeat, the Labour Party began to articulate an ideology and rhetoric of ‘new realism’. A modernising ideology, new realism recognized that Thatcherism had changed the agenda of British politics and, as a consequence, proposed that the Labour party rethink its project and objectives. This perspective informed the Policy Review process of the late 1980s and, by the early 1990s, the party was retreating from such policies as unilateral nuclear disarmament and the denationalization of primary industries. The political ascendancy of the modernising tendency was confirmed in 1994 when, following the death of John Smith, Tony Blair assumed party leadership. Blair promoted the centrist social democratic programme of ‘social-ism’ under the slogan New Labour and led the party to its largest Parliamentary majority ever at the General Election of 1st May 1997 with 418 Labour MPs elected. New Labour ‘social-ism’ rejects the socialist currents which helped shape the party’s postwar political agenda, and advances a pragmatic programme of political modernization, constitutional reform, ‘stakeholding’ democracy, social inclusion and community development. Symboli-cally important was the 1995 revision of Clause Four of the Party’s constitution, when the language of social opportunity ‘for the many and not the few’ was substituted for the socialist principle of ‘the common ownership of the means of production’. In practice, New Labour’s ‘Iron Chancellor’ Gordon Brown has insisted on fiscal discipline and reoriented the party’s macroeconomic policy from Keynesian economic management to the neo-liberal strategy of renewal spending on infrastructure, training, education and job creation. New Labour has also articulated a proactive vision of Britain’s role in Europe, but, compromising with the late 1990s mood of Euroscepticism, opted out of the launch of the euro in the year 2000.
   The most significant achievements of the early New Labour government were in constitutional reform. Referendums in September 1997 established the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, and significant progress was made in Northern Ireland with the signing of the multi-party peace declaration in April 1998. However, critics have charged that New Labour’s strict party discipline and soundbite approach to politics has been bought at the cost of the suppression of left-wing dissent.
   See also: Militant
   Further reading
    Shaw, E. (1996) The Labour Party Since 1945, London: Blackwell (an illuminating modern history of the party).
   MARK DOUGLAS

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • New Labour — an unofficial name for the British ↑Labour Party used especially by Tony Blair and his supporters to show that the Labour Party has changed some of its ideas and become more modern. One of the main New Labour ideas is that the government should… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • New Labour — noun The part of the British Labour Party that gained control in the 1990s and seeks to apply a less extreme form of socialism in a market economy • • • Main Entry: ↑new …   Useful english dictionary

  • New Labour — Vorsitzender Logo Basisdaten Gründungsdatum: 27. Februar 1900 Gründungsort …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • New Labour —    The label increasingly applied to the Labour Party as it has evolved in recent years but especially associated with Tony Blair and his close supporters who employed it in his successful 1994 leadership campaign and during the 1997 general… …   Glossary of UK Government and Politics

  • New Labour — Parti travailliste (Royaume Uni) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Labour (homonymie). Labour Party …   Wikipédia en Français

  • New Labour — a phrase used by Tony Blair in the 1990s to refer to his aim of making the British Labour Party more modern. New Labour became more attractive to the British public, for example, when the party voted to change Clause 4 and be less influenced by… …   Universalium

  • New Labour — noun a movement to rebrand the British Labour Party by discarding traditional goals (such as nationalization) …   Wiktionary

  • New Labour — UK / US a name that the Labour Party in the UK has used to describe itself since the middle of the 1990s to show that it is modern and less left wing than it once was …   English dictionary

  • New Labour, New Life For Britain — was a hugely significant political manifesto published in 1996 by the UK s Labour Party, which had recently restyled itself as New Labour under Tony Blair. The manifesto set out the party s new third way centre left approach to policy, with… …   Wikipedia

  • New Labour (disambiguation) — New Labour is a campaigning label for the Labour Party of the United Kingdom, dating from 1994 and associated with Tony Blair s leadership. New Labour may also refer to: NewLabour Party (New Zealand), formed by Jim Anderton after he left the New… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.