By Steve Ludlam, Martin J. Smith
The follow-up quantity to an analogous editors' New Labour in executive presents a scientific evaluate of Blair's first time period and the continuities and alterations into his moment. Bringing jointly specially-commissioned chapters through prime specialists in a tightly-edited layout , it locations specific emphasis at the evolution of New Labour's political functionality, coverage and statecraft set in its ancient, ideological and organizational context.
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Additional info for Governing as New Labour: Policy and Politics Under Blair
Since more egalitarian market outcomes can only be secured if endowments of assets are more equal, the government’s role is securing a more egalitarian redistribution of such assets (White, 1998). The implications of such assetbased egalitarianism are radical, since ‘while asset-based egalitarianism may reduce the need for “old-fashioned” redistribution, it will by no means eliminate it. Redistribution of earnings must remain a central component of social democratic strategy’ (White, 1998, 3). Yet how far New Labour 38 Second Term and European Social Democracy accepts the need for greater economic equality (that is, of outcome) – with concomitant policy implications in areas such as redistribution and taxation – is questionable.
During the 1970s and 1980s, as left and right fought over the Party’s future, Labour had often been seen by voters as a Party divided, while the Conservatives were perceived as being united. But by the early 1990s, Labour had learned the painful lessons of poor party discipline, hence New Labour’s obsession with being ‘on message’. The Conservatives, on the other hand, exhausted by eighteen years continuously in office, faced by major issues (especially Europe) which split the Party, and – after the 1992 ERM crisis – increasingly panic-stricken by unremittingly poor opinion poll ratings, descended into internecine warfare.
Finally, the government’s transport policy ran into difficulties. New Labour did not deliver its promised integrated transport network. And following a fatal crash at Hatfield in 2000, emergency track repairs severely disrupted rail services for over a year, creating chaos for many commuters. Not surprisingly, over 60 per cent of voters felt, in 2001, that Labour’s record on transport was poor. But neither of the two largest challenges to Labour during the 1997–2001 Parliament emerged from the traditional political battleground.