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 .
[...] Welfare to work policies such as the New Deal were implemented on the ground that social rights come with duties. The government insisted that work should pay, as opposed to welfare programmes supposed to encourage people to rely on benefits, without seeking active work. As Melissa Benn puts it, this policy asks one particular hard-pressed group (the unemployed) to achieve upon the agreed- upon national goal, and those who refuse to follow the programme are targeted for severe punishment (temporary suppression of benefits), reminding the toughness of the Thatcher years against the most vulnerable individuals. [...]
[...] Here again, New Labour does not want to be seen as weak on foreign policy issues. This new emphasis on the themes of choice, individual freedom and economic liberalism has been seen by many as a great change in Labour's history: New Labour is charged with having abandoned its social-democratic commitments and having converged with Conservative ideas. We will try to show now how New Labour can still be seen as a centre of the left party. The continuity with Labour: a centre of the left party Students of British politics such as Steven Fielding have argued that Tony Blair wilfully downplayed the continuities that linked New Labour to the party's past and that New Labour was merely a rhetorical device designed to improve its chances of gaining national office and meant to win the support of relatively affluent Conservative-inclined voters who associated the party with extremism, division, economic incompetence, militant trade unions and the poor. [...]
[...] The New Labour era has seen no retreat of the state, but rather a new way of thinking the state intervention, while sticking to strict financial rules. As Steven Fielding argues, there is still a continuity with Labour and an obvious change with the Thatcher years: New Labour has moved from its electoral strategy to present itself as more Thatcherite than it was, to become less shy about the virtues of public spending and the need for better-funded public services to reduce poverty and increase equality. [...]
[...] When Labour came to power in 1997, wining by a landslide, the government was willing to assert New Labour's competence on economic matters and end its and spend” image. Gordon Brown had promised that a Labour government would not increase the basic rate of income tax, its top rate or raise Value Added Tax. He also pledged to follow Conservative spending plans for his first two years as Chancellor. Within days of winning the General Election, Brown gave the Bank of England freedom to set interest rates. [...]
[...] He also coined the term Third Way, to define a “Third Way between unbridled capitalism and laissez-faire on the one hand, and old style Government intervention, the corporatism of the 1960s social democracy on the other”. In 1997, there was a widespread belief that New Labour was a mere continuation of Thatcherism and that it had abandoned its social-democratic ideology. However, according to Third Way theorists, such as Anthony Giddens, New Labour is still a social- democratic party even if it has modernized. [...]
avec notre liseuse dédiée !
Pimido.com utilise des cookies sur son site. En poursuivant votre navigation sur Pimido.com ou en cliquant sur OK, vous en acceptez l'utilisation. Politique de Condifentialité