The European Connection
It is highly unlikely that Britain can establish the Third Way all on its own. Some of the elements, such as modernization or social inclusion can well be developed, but in other respects the advent of globalization and especially the implications of EU membership put the goal beyond reasonable reach. A larger, more extensive context seems essential. Two different options appear as the evident alternatives. Firstly, the goal of an updated revived Atlantic Alliance or secondly, achieving integration of the Blairite Third Way into the European Union agenda for the future ahead. Each of the pathways offers attractions as well as constraints.
The Atlantic Alliance option offers the benefits of a common language, civic institutions and legal system; a politically literate electorate; a closely similar employment structure with the service sector increasingly dominant; an emphasis on hyper-technology plus informatics; and last but not least a cultural predisposition towards accommodation and compromise. Yet for all that, it would be a distinctly unbalanced partnership. The days of the special relationship lie decidedly in the past. A greatly diminished ex-Empire matched with the mightiest, wealthiest sole superpower, would leave the former in a clearly subsidiary position – some argue, little more than a fifty-first state ( Soetendorp, 1999). Moreover linked to a nation where even Liberalism ranks as anathema, all left-wing content would need to be excised from the Third Way. Coming to equal the American model of triangulation, with its accent on expediency and accommodation, one is left wondering whether altogether the exercise would have been worth while.
The European connection is dramatically different. There is not only no one common language, but divergence in a whole range of institu