After Blair: Politics after the New Labour Decade

After Blair: Politics after the New Labour Decade

After Blair: Politics after the New Labour Decade

After Blair: Politics after the New Labour Decade

Synopsis

Analyzing the last 10 years of British parliament, contributors examine the age of Tony Blair as Prime Minister and the time of Labour Party dominance as it comes to an end. Comparing previous Labour Party governments to the current, scholars reflect on the past, present, and future of British politics and whether a Labour dominated government will outlast Blair's period in office. Offering opinions and political forecasting from some of the most respected experts in their fields, Blair's political history is examined and critiqued, contemplating the outcome and effects of his decisions and policies as Prime Minister since 1997.

Excerpt

Gerry Hassan

The historian’s puzzle is why the Labour Party lasted so long: what
could more perfectly illustrate the principle of social inertia? Like
democracy itself, the Labour Party was a reaction against the feudal
tradition. It arose out of the old working class as it was called, which
had such solidarity because its name belied it: it was not so much
class as caste.

Michael Young, The Rise of the Meritocracy, 1958: 139

The political weather of Britain is clearly changing – with the hollowing out and exhaustion of New Labour, the arrival of David Cameron’s new look Conservatives, and Tony Blair’s long, lingering, goodbye. Behind these changes are more profound issues: the malaise at the heart of British democracy after the brief hopes of 1997, a loss of trust across the general public about politicians and political processes, and the culture of fear, anxiety and anxiousness aided and abetted by post-9/11 and ‘the war on terror’.

This book attempts to look at the current and future prospects for progressive politics in the UK; the ways in which New Labour has changed the political environment for good and bad; and the issues and dilemmas this leaves for the centre-left. It aims to do this by beginning with the some of the major questions raised by Eric Hobsbawm and Stuart Hall, well over twenty five years ago, writing in Marxism Today in the immediate run-up to Thatcher’s victory in 1979 (Hobsbawm, 1981; Hall, 1979). Their two key texts – ‘The Forward March of Labour Halted?’ and ‘The Great Moving Right Show – have stood the test of time, challenging conventional shibboleths and laying out longer-term prospects. This tradition was also drawn on in The Blair . . .

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