New Labour Triumphs: Britain at the Polls

New Labour Triumphs: Britain at the Polls

New Labour Triumphs: Britain at the Polls

New Labour Triumphs: Britain at the Polls

Synopsis

This text is the full story of the 1997 general election, from campaign to completion. It includes facts, figures, and full information on the entire election, plus meaningful analysis from acknowledged experts.

Excerpt

The 1997 British general election will be subjected to closer scrutiny than any previous election in British history. Part of the explanation relates to the results. Within hours of the first results being declared, it was clear that the scale of Labour's victory was going to be without precedent in the party's history. Tony Blair's majority was going to be larger than that of Clement Attlee in 1945, larger than that of Harold Wilson in 1966. the outcome exceeded Labour's wildest hopes, was far worse than the worst the Conservatives had feared. Such a phenomenon cries out for analysis and explanation.

But the 1997 election will also be more closely scrutinised because the number of scrutineers is unusually large. David Butler, the Oxford political scientist who is by now virtually part of the British constitution, will co-author another volume in the Nuffield College election series, which has been appearing since 1945 (under David Butler's aegis since 1951). a special issue of the journal Parliamentary Affairs will be devoted to the subject. Not least, the ongoing British Election Study will in due course yield a wealth of quantitative data based on an unprecedentedly wide range and variety of sample surveys.

This book differs from the others in two principal respects. the first is simply that the audience is meant to be a wider one: general readers as well as academic political scientists and people outside Britain, especially in North America, as well as the British themselves. the second is that this book's approach is meant to be "macro" rather than "micro"--that is, to describe and explain the large political forces that shaped the 1997 outcome rather than to explore in detail either the specific events of the campaign or the constituency-by-constituency results. For example, tactical voting--the phenomenon of voters backing their second-preference candidate when they think their first-preference candidate has no chance of winning--had a considerable effect on the 1997 outcome and is re-

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