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N C GARDNER MA
PGCE
Tony Blair and New
Labour 1997 to 2007
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Essential skills for studies and the workplace
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 Excellent interpersonal skills
 Team player
 Really wanting to pass your exams and gain high
grades, not just to pass the time and avoid
working
One of the purposes of education
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 “All men, because they are born in infancy,
are born unapt for society … wherefore
man is made fit for society not by nature
but by education.” (Thomas Hobbes,
English political philosopher, 17th century)
 In other words, it is education that makes
us ‘apt for society’ – fit for society.
A long premiership
 Tony Blair’s ten years as prime minister represents the
second longest premiership of post-war Britain and
was longer than the lifespan of a two-term American
president.
 Lack of time in office was not a problem for Tony
Blair.
 Blair led New Labour to a huge election victory in
1997. But concentration had only been focused on
dominating the media agenda and winning the
election.
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Little thought of a programme for
government
 The concentration on winning the election in
1997 resulted in little thought given to a
programme for government.
 In private, Blair has looked back on his first term
(1997 to 2001) as largely a wasted opportunity for
public service reform and the second term (2001
to 2005) was dominated by Iraq and its fallout.
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The specifics of New Labour’s record
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1) One murderous war after another – Sierra Leone,
Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq.
2) Slavish devotion to finance
3) E.G. ‘light-touch regulation’ effectively allowing
banks to regulate themselves. This brought a
phenomenal expansion in the role of finance, as
funds poured through the City in search of super-
profits.
4) Promotion of rampant inequality – under New
Labour the top 20% earnt more than seven times
as much as the bottom 20%.
The specifics of New Labour’s record
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 Repeated assaults on civil liberties
 Fragmentation and privatization of public services
 Outrageous corruption – Overt sale of state policy
e.g. the 1997 amendment of advertising rules for
Formula One motor racing after a donation by
millionaire Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and
the MPs expenses scandal.
Parliamentary expenses scandal, 2009
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 This concerned expenses claims made by MPs
during the Blair premierships from 1997 to 2007.
The disclosure of widespread misuse of
allowances and expenses permitted to Members
of Parliament (MPs) aroused widespread anger
among the British public and resulted in a large
number of resignations, sackings, de-selections
and retirement announcements together with
public apologies and the repayment of expenses.
British politics in the gutter
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 In 2009, The Daily Telegraph began publishing its
expose of MPs’ expenses, triggering the most
explosive British political scandal of the modern
era.
 Voters were already furious with the
Establishment. The previous autumn, September
2008, several of Britain’s biggest banks had come
within hours of total collapse due to their own
monumental incompetence.
Reputation not enhanced
 A second term of office rarely enhances a
government’s reputation and Blair’s government was
no exception.
 On a personal level Blair was troubled by health
scares and self-doubt after the damage done to his
public reputation following the war in Iraq, which
started in 2003.
 Blair was on the brink of resigning in 2004 and in the
end announced that he would not serve beyond a
third term.
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Blair’s second term 2001 – 05 dominated by the ‘war on
terror’ and Iraq
 Blair’s second term was dominated by the ‘war on
terror’ and then from 2003 by the Iraq war.
 However, important decisions were taken on
university tuition fees, foundation hospitals, city
academies, an independent supreme court and the
NHS internal market.
 His government enjoyed continued economic
stability and made massive investment in public
services.
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A handsome lead on all key issues except
immigration
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 Blair’s New Labour entered the 2005 general
election with a handsome lead on all the key
issues apart from immigration.
 His government had begun to develop a
coherent approach to modernising the post-1945
welfare settlement based on devolution,
decentralisation, diversity and choice.
Winning elections was everything for Blair
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 Blair’s entire cast of mind was directed towards
winning elections. Blair was scarred by the
experience of four successive defeats in general
elections from 1979 to 1992.
 But, later, the caution was dictated by his wish to
avoid jeopardising what he increasingly saw as
perhaps his major claim to immortality in history,
his ability to win general elections.
Tony Blair was cautious since he wished to
maintain his winning streak in general elections
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Blair’s desire to win power
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 Blair was always driven more by the desire to win
power than to use power. Winning a third general
election for Labour was historic. But it came at a
price.
 As the election approached in 2005, he pulled back
from pursuing his New Labour ideas to their logical
conclusion for fear of alienating supporters and,
closer to home, upsetting his delicately poised
relationship with Gordon Brown.
Gordon Brown was the most powerful Chancellor
of the Exchequer since 1945
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1) New Labour ideas – the Third Way
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1) The new mixed economy post-Thatcher
2) Equality as inclusion – the inclusive society
3) Positive welfare
4) The social investment state
5) The cosmopolitan nation
Blair did not use power enough when in
government
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 Blair failed to work out until too late exactly what
he wanted to do with power.
 His own personal credo, developed in the 1970s
and 1980s, had been constructed around the ideas
of community, personal responsibility and
democracy.
 But it was an embarrassingly thin and inconsistent
agenda for a prime minister.
New Labour was a Dual Monarchy: Brown and Blair
shared power from 1997 to 2007
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Blair’s influences
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 Blair’s influences included a religious visionary, John
Macmurray, not a socialist such as Bernard Shaw or H
G Wells.
 The works of history that most inspired him were not
those of Labour’s great leaders of the past but
biographies of Liberal leaders such as Henry
Campbell-Bannerman, prime minister in 1905 – 08.
 The political leader who influenced him the most was
neither Labour not Liberal but Conservative –
Margaret Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher with her political son, Tony Blair
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‘neutralising the negatives’
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 Blair’s first act when elected Labour Party leader
in 1994 was to rid the party of Clause IV of its
constitution, an act of great symbolic
significance.
 His whole energy up until the 1997 general
election was devoted to ‘neutralising the
negatives’, i.e. to removing the reasons the
electorate might have for not voting Labour, such
as the party being weak on defence or unable to
run a modern capitalist economy.
Thatcher and her political son, Tony Blair
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Blair had little sense of what to do
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 Once in power from May 1997, when he had the
opportunity at last, Blair showed little sense of
having any clear idea about what he wanted to
do.
 His story increasingly became ‘let’s prove to the
electorate that we deserve their trust by giving
them competent government: the radicalism will
come in a second term.’
Policy-light manifesto
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 Blair fought the 2001 general election on a policy-light
manifesto (a joint Blair-Brown decision), with a still
incomplete picture of what he wanted to achieve with
power.
 Neither foundation hospitals not tuition fees, nor the
next steps on social mobility and constitutional reform,
were promised in the manifesto.
 Then came 9/11 and Blair travelled the world for a year
to gain support for the coalition for the ‘war on terror’.
9/11 transformed Blair into the cheerleader of the
American-led coalition for the ‘war on terror’
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‘choice and diversity’ in the public services
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 Not until 2002 – 03 did Blair decide what he
wanted to do with power domestically. It was not
to take Britain into the euro, or to construct a
‘progressive centre’ coalition in British politics.
 Instead it was to have ‘choice and diversity’ in the
public services. However, this was too late to make
a significant impression on policy, at least before
the 2005 general election.
Blair never worked out how to use power
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 Blair did not know what he wanted to do with
power, and also he never fully worked out how to
use it. He had never worked in a commercial
organisation nor had he run anything before
becoming leader of the Labour Party in 1994. His
preference had always been for working in small
groups.
 It was a tight-knit clique that developed New
Labour, including Brown, Peter Mandelson, Alastair
Campbell and Philip Gould.
Peter Mandelson, Labour Cabinet minister and architect
of New Labour along with Blair and Brown.
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New Labour’s tight-knit clique
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 New Labour’s tight-knit clique of Blair, Brown,
Mandelson, Campbell and Gould did not translate
well when they formed the Government in 1997.
 Blair developed an approach to government that
relied heavily on central diktat, sidelining the views
of most of the civil service, the Labour Party, the
Cabinet and Parliament.
 Policy was run from Blair’s own office in Downing
Street.
Ignoring the conventions of government
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 Blair’s style of governing came under increasing
attack during the second term for ignoring the
conventions of British government as well as for its
inefficiency.
 It was Blair’s conduct of the Iraq war that brought
his inner-Cabinet style under a piercing spotlight.
 Over Iraq, it is possible that if Blair had listened
more widely, not least to the Foreign Office, he
would have acted in a more considered way.
What Blair will be remembered for: the Iraq
quagmire
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To bludgeon rather than to consult
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 Blair’s style was to bludgeon rather than to
consult. Thus a year to 18 months were lost
because Number 10 was antagonistic to the
Parliamentary Labour Party and to the
trade unions during 2001 – 03, which
convinced themselves that Blair’s public
service programme was merely
privatisation by the back door.
Number 10 failed to win hearts and minds
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 Relying so heavily on their ‘true believer’ mentality,
Number 10 failed to win hearts and minds, not only
in the Labour movement but in the civil service
also.
 Mrs Thatcher, even with her ‘one of us’ approach,
managed to win over many supporters among
politicians, advisers and officials.
 Blairites bemoaned the fact that ‘there are so few
of us’.
What Blair will be remembered for: the Iraq
quagmire
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Failure to secure a wider base of support
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 The Blairites failure to secure a wider base of
support across Whitehall and Westminster, or in
town halls, is telling of their approach.
 Number 10 also failed to develop a cadre of highly
capable New Labour Cabinet ministers.
 Blair’s path was also not eased by the lack of a clear
ideology available to give coherence to his policies.
Lack of a clear ideology
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 While Attlee and Thatcher each came to power on
the crest of an ideological wave, Blair had no such
fortune.
 Agenda-changing governments need to have an
intellectual and an ideological coherence which was
not there for Blair.
 He was personally handicapped because he lacked
an original or a deep-thinking mind of his own.
Blair was personally handicapped
because he lacked an original mind
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Tony Blair’s qualities
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 Tony Blair was not an intellectual, he read light
works and was a stranger to much high art and
culture.
 Blair’s brilliance, genius even, lay in his quite
extraordinary persuasive and presentational skills.
 His stamina, and mental and physical strength,
were also outstanding and were rivalled by few
British prime ministers.
The type of books that Blair did NOT read.
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“Ballet class” by Edgar Degas (1875)
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Botticelli’s “Allegory of Spring” (created 1477 to 1482)
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Iraq handicapped New Labour
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 Iraq handicapped the progress of New Labour from
2003. Blair certainly spent much of his political
capital persuading the Parliamentary Labour Party
and the country to support the war, and the
payback was felt both in Parliament and at the
ballot box.
 Blair’s stance on Iraq also damaged Britain’s
relations with the European Union.
New Labour did achieve most of its manifesto
commitments
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 Blair’s reform agenda for the public
services was not deflected badly because of
his attention to the international stage.
Number 10 aides claimed that he
maintained his regular progress meetings
with domestic ministers, and indeed that
he spent more time thinking strategically in
the second term (2001 – 05) than in the first
(1997 – 2001).
Shoulder to shoulder with America: President
George W Bush and Tony Blair, 2003
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But against historical parallels, New Labour was a pygmy
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 New Labour certainly did achieve most of its manifesto
commitments, which were specifically designed to be
achievable within four years, and by this specific
criterion the government was a success in 2001 to 2005.
 But against historical parallels, and the aspirations aired
repeatedly by the Prime Minister himself, the cracks
showed. The second term was disappointing in relation
to the expectations that Blair himself aroused and to
the exceptional majority in Parliament that New Labour
had.
Comparison with Thatcher
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 In comparison to the achievements of successful
second-term prime ministers like Thatcher, Blair
experienced disappointment.
 Blair must shoulder the blame because he appointed
the ministers and the aides, and if they were no good
he must take the responsibility.
 He also failed sufficiently to learn the lessons either
from his own first term (1997 to 2001), or from second-
term leaders abroad such as President Bill Clinton.
Bush and Blair were close buddies, very close indeed.
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Blair needed to have finalised his agenda
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 Blair needed to have finalised his agenda for
government, ready for his second term, which he had
three years in opposition (1994 – 97), followed by four
years in power (1997 – 2001) to prepare, and then to
execute it.
 Blair did none of these adequately. Admittedly, some
factors were beyond his control, including 9/11 (though
he could have avoided falling headlong into the Iraq
war), scepticism towards the EU refusing to abate,
globalisation taking more decisions away from national
governments, and having such an antagonistic
Chancellor (Gordon Brown).
Decline in trust for politicians
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 Blair cannot escape blame also for presiding over a
period when trust in and respect for politicians declined
so much and turn-out in general elections fell so low
(59% in 2001; 61% in 2005). So much for the promise of
democratic renewal.
 No issue leached trust quite as much as Iraq,
compounded by Blair’s repeated pleas of ‘trust me’.
Blair must be criticised for failing to stand up to the
Bush administration, for taking Britain to war on a false
prospectus, and for preparing so lamentably for the
‘post-war’ world in Iraq.
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Blair did not use his historic opportunity
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 New Labour achieved landslide general election
victories in two successive elections, 1997 and
2001. Had Blair realised more fully his historic
opportunity, much more could have been
achieved.
 Blair’s achievements were too modest. His chance
fundamentally to refashion the country as he had
remodelled the Labour Party came, and went, in
2001 – 2005.
‘Blairism’
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 The traditional Labourite belief in the effectiveness of
centralisation and high spending.
 A quasi-Harold Wilson policy of technocratic
managerialism, planning and targets within the
confines of the existing welfare state.
 A neo-Thatcherite adherence to extending markets and
pricing into the public services.
 None of the above was radical, let alone revolutionary.
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Blair came to power in 1997 promising a ‘New
Britain’.
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 Blair came to power in 1997 promising a ‘New
Britain’. This did not happen.
 Blair was a master of persuasion and presentation
but this did not extend to policy-making and
governing.
 The effect of Blair upon Britain will be
remembered as much for its opportunities lost as
for its achievements.
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Labour dominated the 1997 Parliament
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 Labour won the General Election in May 1997 with
an overall majority of 179 seats, a landslide victory.
 Labour 419 seats
 Conservatives 165
 Liberal Democrats 46 seats
Assumed to be certain of re-election in 2001
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 There had been no post-war Parliament in which
the government was so continuously assumed to
be certain of re-election in 2001 or 2002.
 It was the first full Parliament since 1900 when the
governing party held every seat it defended in a
by-election (in this case from 1997 to 2001).
 In no other full Parliament had the government had
the government been ahead of the opposition in
the opinion polls every month but one: September
2000.
The People’s Princess, Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed
in a car crash 31st August 1997
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To achieve an historic full second term
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 Tony Blair was determined to compile a record in
government that would ensure re-election and to
achieve an historic full second term.
 Running the economy well, demonstrating
competence and ending the long-running
debate about Labour’s fitness to govern
were important means to this end.
Diana, Princess of Wales, who died shortly after
Blair became Prime Minister
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An assured parliamentary majority
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 Since 1970, office with an assured parliamentary
majority had been a rare luxury for Labour.
 Before taking office, nearly all the 1997 Cabinet had
only experienced political life on the opposition
benches.
 The professionalism of Labour’s 1997 election
campaign was widely noted, not least by the
Conservatives.
New standards in agenda-setting
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 Labour set new standards in agenda-setting, rapid
rebuttal, disciplined adherence to a ‘message’, and
identifying and contacting target voters.
 Conservatives in Smith Square were certainly
impressed, as they sought to learn lessons from the
defeat. Once in government could the Labour Party
maintain its momentum?
New Labour’s landslide victory, May 1997
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A campaigning government
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 The Blair administration, more than any of its
predecessors, tried to conduct itself as a
campaigning government. Partly this derived
from the long experience of opposition (1979 to
1997), partly from the lessons of Bill Clinton’s
election victories in the United States and partly
from the perceived successes of the 1994 – 97
period in opposition.
Tony Blair with some of the 101 female Labour MPs
elected in 1997 – Blair’s so-called ‘babes’
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Labour’s five pledges, 1997 manifesto
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 Labour spent much of the Parliament struggling to
keep the five pledges it had listed in the 1997
manifesto:
 1 Cut class sizes to under 30 for 5 – 7 years olds
 2 Introduce fast punishment for young offenders,
halving the time between arrest and sentence
 3 Cut NHS waiting lists by 100,000
 4 Remove 250,000 under 25s from benefit
 5 No rise in income tax rates; VAT on heating cut to 5%
Difficulty with the five pledges
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 The last two promises were easily met. But the first
three caused longer-term embarrassment.
 The NHS came under great strain during
epidemics in the first three winters (from
1997 to 2000) and waiting lists rose rather
than fell.
New Labour and education
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 David Blunkett proved an energetic Secretary of
State for Education.
 Infant schools’ class sizes in the end fell, but even
that seemed only to highlight the failure to
improve the situation in secondary schools.
 And the government faced much unpopularity for
imposing fees on university students and ending
maintenance grants, at a time when it was trying to
increase the numbers entering higher education.
David Blunkett, Education Secretary 1997 to 2001
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New Labour’s advantages
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 Blair enjoyed some favourable conditions in order
to maintain New Labour’s political dominance:
 A long period of office – 1997 to 2007 – longer than
previous Labour Prime Ministers Attlee, Wilson and
Callaghan.
 A large parliamentary majority
 A weak opposition
 A favourable climate of opinion
But Blair’s record pales in comparison with Attlee
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 Despite New Labour’s advantages from 1997
onwards, Blair’s record pales in comparison with
that of Attlee. Attlee’s post-war Labour
government:
 Coped with the transition from war to peace
 Gave independence to India
 Joined NATO
 Created the National Health Service
 Greatly extended public ownership and the welfare
state
Clement Attlee was a sea-change Prime
Minister who altered the political, economic
and social landscape of the United Kingdom
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Blair was not a sea-change prime minister
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 In comparison with Thatcher, Blair was not a sea-
change prime minister. Thatcher had presided
over:
 Trade union reforms
 Privatisation
 Curbing inflation
 The creation of a more dynamic enterprise
culture
Besides Attlee, Margaret Thatcher was the other
sea-change prime minister of modern Britain. It
could be said of her that most people have a dark
side, she had nothing else.
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Timeline of events 1997
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 1 May: Labour wins General Election (Labour 419 seats,
Conservatives 165 seats, Liberal Democrats 46 seats)
 2 May: Blair becomes PM and announces his Cabinet
 6 May: The new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon
Brown, announces Bank of England monetary policy
committee to set interest rates
 14 May: Queen’s Speech – 26 Bills promised
Timeline of events 1997
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 19 June: William Hague defeats Kenneth Clarke, 92
to 70, to win the Conservative Party leadership,
taking over from the defeated Prime Minister, John
Major
 30 June: Hong Kong returned to China
 2 July: Labour’s first Budget gives £3 billion to
education from ‘windfall tax’ on utilities but
confirms Conservative spending limits until 1999
William Hague, Leader of the Conservative Party, 1997 to
2001
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The new individualism
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 The new individualism of the Blair years was not
Thatcherism, not market individualism, not
atomization.
 On the contrary, it means ‘institutionalised
individualism’. Most of the rights and entitlements
of the welfare state, for example, are designed for
individuals rather than for families.
The new individualism
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 In many cases the rights and entitlements of Blair’s
Britain and since presuppose employment.
 Employment in turn implies education and both of
these presuppose mobility.
 By all these requirements people are invited to
constitute themselves as individuals: to plan,
understand, design themselves as individuals.
Thatcherism and New Labour led to the
individualised society: the end of collectivism
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The retreat of tradition and custom
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 The new individualism, starting under Thatcher and
Major and continued under Blair and since, is
associated with the retreat of tradition and custom
from our lives – a process related to globalisation
and not just the influence of markets.
 Social cohesion can’t be guaranteed by the top-
down action of the state or by appeal to tradition.
 We have to make our lives in a more active way.
To make our lives in a more active way
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 The new individualism since Thatcher means that
we have to make our lives in a more active way
than was true of previous generations.
 We need more actively to accept responsibilities
for the consequences of what we do and the
lifestyle habits we adopt.
 All of us have to live in a more open and
reflective manner than previous generations.
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Addressing inequality
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 The issue of how to address inequality continued to
divide Labour and the Conservatives.
 The political right dressed itself up in new clothing
after the Second World War, following the fall of
fascism. To survive, right-wing parties such as the
British Conservative Party, had to adopt some of
the values of the left, and accept the basic
framework of the welfare state.
Ideological ascendancy of neoliberalism since 1980s
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 Since the early 1980s, and especially after the
Conservative election victory of 1983,
neoliberalism, the belief that the market knows
best, was in the ideological ascendancy until the
financial meltdown of 2008 and the Great
Recession of 2008 – 14.
 Tony Blair took over most of the neoliberal views
and policies of Thatcherism, but differences
remained between New Labour and the
Conservatives over attitudes to equality.
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Attitudes towards equality
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 The left favours greater equality, while the right
sees society as inevitably hierarchical. Equality is a
relative concept. The left seeks to reduce inequality.
 The left not only pursue social justice, but believe
that government has to play a key role in
furthering that aim.
 To be on the left is to believe in a politics of
emancipation.
Equality is relevant for life chances
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 Equality is important above all because it is
relevant to people’s life chances, well-being and
self-esteem.
 A highly unequal society is harming itself by not
making the best use of the talents and capacities of
its citizens.
 Inequalities can threaten social cohesion and can
provoke high rates of crime.
The Third Way as a policy agenda
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
95
 Tony Blair wrote in 1998 that the Third Way
was ‘the best label for the new politics
which the progressive centre-left is forging
in Britain and beyond.’
 The Third Way of New Labour set out to
combine economic efficiency with social
justice, free markets with universal welfare.
The knowledge-based economy
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
96
Broad policy objectives of New Labour
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
97
1) a dynamic knowledge-based economy
2) A strong civil society
3) A modern government based on partnership and
decentralisation
4) A foreign policy based on international
cooperation
A dynamic knowledge-based economy
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
98
 Tony Blair’s governments went a considerable way
in achieving a dynamic knowledge-based economy
in the United Kingdom.
 Blair’s governments avoided the kind of financial
crisis which had always been the lot of previous
Labour governments, for example that of Harold
Wilson’s government with the devaluation of the
pound in 1967.
Blair’s Britain had steady economic growth
and increased pride in British culture
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
99
The fashions of
Alexander
McQueen were
part of Cool
Britannia, the
increased pride
in British
culture during
Blair’s
premiership
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
100
Economic achievements of New Labour
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
101
 Steady, uninterrupted economic growth
 Low inflation
 Declining unemployment
 Heavy investment in the science base
New Labour’s achievements
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
102
 Pro-business
 Pro-enterprise
 Pro-market
 For the first time there was a Labour government
to which the business community was not hostile.
New Labour under Tony Blair and Gordon
Brown was pro-business, pro-enterprise and
pro-market.
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
103
To deliver social justice
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
104
 For the Third Way to succeed, New
Labour had to show that it could use
economic success to deliver social
justice and social cohesion, both
essential for its aim of a strong civil
society.
From the ‘Big Bang’ in the City in 1986, London had
become the world’s main financial centre along
with New York. The financial sector of the economy
flourished under Blair’s government.
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
105
Blair’s rationale for the Third Way
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
106
 Blair’s rationale for the Third Way was that
globalisation was ‘inevitable’, even ‘desirable’.
 He confirmed Labour’s belief that government
should now maintain ‘strong, prudent discipline
over financial and monetary policy’.
 Echoing the fashionable verities of the day, Blair
claimed there was ‘no right or left politics in
economic management today’ as ‘the battle
between the market and public sector is over’.
London and the South East benefited from free-
market capitalism under Blair as it had under
Thatcher.
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
107
Further increase in the role of the market
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
108
 The Third Way allowed for a further increase in the
role of the market. Minor state assets might be sold
off if they served no useful purpose by remaining
in public hands.
 Private capital could be used to fund public
projects if government finance was unavailable;
and commercial service providers might be
introduced should they be considered more
efficient.
London boomed under Blair and became a global
city detached from the rest of Britain. The centre of
finance, media and fashion remains in London.
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
109
Part privatisation of the London tube
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
110
 Labour in power partially privatised the London
tube and the air traffic control agency.
 Extended the Private Finance Initiative.
 Allowed schools to be run by private companies.
 The state was now considered to be but one of the
available means of facilitating collective ends.
Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon: ‘Love
Actually’ (2003), a hit movie in Blair’s Britain.
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
111
Blair thought the state could still have an
important role.
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
112
 Yet Blair thought the state could still have
an important role, albeit not one as direct
as that assumed after 1945.
 Government needed to ‘set a framework in
which the potential and talent of our
people is liberated, in which new
businesses can be created and old ones
adapt to survive’.
“All I Want For Christmas Is You”
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
113
Minimum standards at the workplace
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
114
 The Labour government should also set
minimum standards at the workplace and
ensure a level playing field between
employers and employed.
 This was why Labour in office introduced the
European Union’s social chapter and a national
minimum wage, and gave trade unions a statutory
right to be recognized.
Keira Knightley’s movie career blossomed in
Blair’s Britain
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
115
Harry Potter, the international best-seller,
began publication in 1997: “Wingardium
Leviosa”
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
116
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
117
J K Rowling, author
of the best-selling
book series in
history and one of
the richest and
most influential
women in modern
Britain.
29/03/2016Blair's New Labour
118

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Making Modern UK Tony Blair and New Labour 1997 to 2007 N C Gardner MA PGCE

  • 1. N C GARDNER MA PGCE Tony Blair and New Labour 1997 to 2007 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 1
  • 3. Essential skills for studies and the workplace 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 3  Excellent interpersonal skills  Team player  Really wanting to pass your exams and gain high grades, not just to pass the time and avoid working
  • 4. One of the purposes of education 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 4  “All men, because they are born in infancy, are born unapt for society … wherefore man is made fit for society not by nature but by education.” (Thomas Hobbes, English political philosopher, 17th century)  In other words, it is education that makes us ‘apt for society’ – fit for society.
  • 5. A long premiership  Tony Blair’s ten years as prime minister represents the second longest premiership of post-war Britain and was longer than the lifespan of a two-term American president.  Lack of time in office was not a problem for Tony Blair.  Blair led New Labour to a huge election victory in 1997. But concentration had only been focused on dominating the media agenda and winning the election. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 5
  • 7. Little thought of a programme for government  The concentration on winning the election in 1997 resulted in little thought given to a programme for government.  In private, Blair has looked back on his first term (1997 to 2001) as largely a wasted opportunity for public service reform and the second term (2001 to 2005) was dominated by Iraq and its fallout. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 7
  • 9. The specifics of New Labour’s record 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 9 1) One murderous war after another – Sierra Leone, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq. 2) Slavish devotion to finance 3) E.G. ‘light-touch regulation’ effectively allowing banks to regulate themselves. This brought a phenomenal expansion in the role of finance, as funds poured through the City in search of super- profits. 4) Promotion of rampant inequality – under New Labour the top 20% earnt more than seven times as much as the bottom 20%.
  • 10. The specifics of New Labour’s record 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 10  Repeated assaults on civil liberties  Fragmentation and privatization of public services  Outrageous corruption – Overt sale of state policy e.g. the 1997 amendment of advertising rules for Formula One motor racing after a donation by millionaire Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and the MPs expenses scandal.
  • 11. Parliamentary expenses scandal, 2009 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 11  This concerned expenses claims made by MPs during the Blair premierships from 1997 to 2007. The disclosure of widespread misuse of allowances and expenses permitted to Members of Parliament (MPs) aroused widespread anger among the British public and resulted in a large number of resignations, sackings, de-selections and retirement announcements together with public apologies and the repayment of expenses.
  • 12. British politics in the gutter 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 12  In 2009, The Daily Telegraph began publishing its expose of MPs’ expenses, triggering the most explosive British political scandal of the modern era.  Voters were already furious with the Establishment. The previous autumn, September 2008, several of Britain’s biggest banks had come within hours of total collapse due to their own monumental incompetence.
  • 13. Reputation not enhanced  A second term of office rarely enhances a government’s reputation and Blair’s government was no exception.  On a personal level Blair was troubled by health scares and self-doubt after the damage done to his public reputation following the war in Iraq, which started in 2003.  Blair was on the brink of resigning in 2004 and in the end announced that he would not serve beyond a third term. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 13
  • 14. Blair’s second term 2001 – 05 dominated by the ‘war on terror’ and Iraq  Blair’s second term was dominated by the ‘war on terror’ and then from 2003 by the Iraq war.  However, important decisions were taken on university tuition fees, foundation hospitals, city academies, an independent supreme court and the NHS internal market.  His government enjoyed continued economic stability and made massive investment in public services. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 14
  • 16. A handsome lead on all key issues except immigration 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 16  Blair’s New Labour entered the 2005 general election with a handsome lead on all the key issues apart from immigration.  His government had begun to develop a coherent approach to modernising the post-1945 welfare settlement based on devolution, decentralisation, diversity and choice.
  • 17. Winning elections was everything for Blair 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 17  Blair’s entire cast of mind was directed towards winning elections. Blair was scarred by the experience of four successive defeats in general elections from 1979 to 1992.  But, later, the caution was dictated by his wish to avoid jeopardising what he increasingly saw as perhaps his major claim to immortality in history, his ability to win general elections.
  • 18. Tony Blair was cautious since he wished to maintain his winning streak in general elections 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 18
  • 19. Blair’s desire to win power 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 19  Blair was always driven more by the desire to win power than to use power. Winning a third general election for Labour was historic. But it came at a price.  As the election approached in 2005, he pulled back from pursuing his New Labour ideas to their logical conclusion for fear of alienating supporters and, closer to home, upsetting his delicately poised relationship with Gordon Brown.
  • 20. Gordon Brown was the most powerful Chancellor of the Exchequer since 1945 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 20
  • 21. 1) New Labour ideas – the Third Way 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 21 1) The new mixed economy post-Thatcher 2) Equality as inclusion – the inclusive society 3) Positive welfare 4) The social investment state 5) The cosmopolitan nation
  • 22. Blair did not use power enough when in government 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 22  Blair failed to work out until too late exactly what he wanted to do with power.  His own personal credo, developed in the 1970s and 1980s, had been constructed around the ideas of community, personal responsibility and democracy.  But it was an embarrassingly thin and inconsistent agenda for a prime minister.
  • 23. New Labour was a Dual Monarchy: Brown and Blair shared power from 1997 to 2007 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 23
  • 24. Blair’s influences 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 24  Blair’s influences included a religious visionary, John Macmurray, not a socialist such as Bernard Shaw or H G Wells.  The works of history that most inspired him were not those of Labour’s great leaders of the past but biographies of Liberal leaders such as Henry Campbell-Bannerman, prime minister in 1905 – 08.  The political leader who influenced him the most was neither Labour not Liberal but Conservative – Margaret Thatcher.
  • 25. Margaret Thatcher with her political son, Tony Blair 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 25
  • 26. ‘neutralising the negatives’ 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 26  Blair’s first act when elected Labour Party leader in 1994 was to rid the party of Clause IV of its constitution, an act of great symbolic significance.  His whole energy up until the 1997 general election was devoted to ‘neutralising the negatives’, i.e. to removing the reasons the electorate might have for not voting Labour, such as the party being weak on defence or unable to run a modern capitalist economy.
  • 27. Thatcher and her political son, Tony Blair 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 27
  • 28. Blair had little sense of what to do 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 28  Once in power from May 1997, when he had the opportunity at last, Blair showed little sense of having any clear idea about what he wanted to do.  His story increasingly became ‘let’s prove to the electorate that we deserve their trust by giving them competent government: the radicalism will come in a second term.’
  • 29. Policy-light manifesto 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 29  Blair fought the 2001 general election on a policy-light manifesto (a joint Blair-Brown decision), with a still incomplete picture of what he wanted to achieve with power.  Neither foundation hospitals not tuition fees, nor the next steps on social mobility and constitutional reform, were promised in the manifesto.  Then came 9/11 and Blair travelled the world for a year to gain support for the coalition for the ‘war on terror’.
  • 30. 9/11 transformed Blair into the cheerleader of the American-led coalition for the ‘war on terror’ 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 30
  • 31. ‘choice and diversity’ in the public services 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 31  Not until 2002 – 03 did Blair decide what he wanted to do with power domestically. It was not to take Britain into the euro, or to construct a ‘progressive centre’ coalition in British politics.  Instead it was to have ‘choice and diversity’ in the public services. However, this was too late to make a significant impression on policy, at least before the 2005 general election.
  • 32. Blair never worked out how to use power 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 32  Blair did not know what he wanted to do with power, and also he never fully worked out how to use it. He had never worked in a commercial organisation nor had he run anything before becoming leader of the Labour Party in 1994. His preference had always been for working in small groups.  It was a tight-knit clique that developed New Labour, including Brown, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell and Philip Gould.
  • 33. Peter Mandelson, Labour Cabinet minister and architect of New Labour along with Blair and Brown. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 33
  • 34. New Labour’s tight-knit clique 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 34  New Labour’s tight-knit clique of Blair, Brown, Mandelson, Campbell and Gould did not translate well when they formed the Government in 1997.  Blair developed an approach to government that relied heavily on central diktat, sidelining the views of most of the civil service, the Labour Party, the Cabinet and Parliament.  Policy was run from Blair’s own office in Downing Street.
  • 35. Ignoring the conventions of government 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 35  Blair’s style of governing came under increasing attack during the second term for ignoring the conventions of British government as well as for its inefficiency.  It was Blair’s conduct of the Iraq war that brought his inner-Cabinet style under a piercing spotlight.  Over Iraq, it is possible that if Blair had listened more widely, not least to the Foreign Office, he would have acted in a more considered way.
  • 36. What Blair will be remembered for: the Iraq quagmire 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 36
  • 37. To bludgeon rather than to consult 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 37  Blair’s style was to bludgeon rather than to consult. Thus a year to 18 months were lost because Number 10 was antagonistic to the Parliamentary Labour Party and to the trade unions during 2001 – 03, which convinced themselves that Blair’s public service programme was merely privatisation by the back door.
  • 38. Number 10 failed to win hearts and minds 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 38  Relying so heavily on their ‘true believer’ mentality, Number 10 failed to win hearts and minds, not only in the Labour movement but in the civil service also.  Mrs Thatcher, even with her ‘one of us’ approach, managed to win over many supporters among politicians, advisers and officials.  Blairites bemoaned the fact that ‘there are so few of us’.
  • 39. What Blair will be remembered for: the Iraq quagmire 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 39
  • 40. Failure to secure a wider base of support 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 40  The Blairites failure to secure a wider base of support across Whitehall and Westminster, or in town halls, is telling of their approach.  Number 10 also failed to develop a cadre of highly capable New Labour Cabinet ministers.  Blair’s path was also not eased by the lack of a clear ideology available to give coherence to his policies.
  • 41. Lack of a clear ideology 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 41  While Attlee and Thatcher each came to power on the crest of an ideological wave, Blair had no such fortune.  Agenda-changing governments need to have an intellectual and an ideological coherence which was not there for Blair.  He was personally handicapped because he lacked an original or a deep-thinking mind of his own.
  • 42. Blair was personally handicapped because he lacked an original mind 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 42
  • 43. Tony Blair’s qualities 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 43  Tony Blair was not an intellectual, he read light works and was a stranger to much high art and culture.  Blair’s brilliance, genius even, lay in his quite extraordinary persuasive and presentational skills.  His stamina, and mental and physical strength, were also outstanding and were rivalled by few British prime ministers.
  • 44. The type of books that Blair did NOT read. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 44
  • 45. “Ballet class” by Edgar Degas (1875) 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 45
  • 46. Botticelli’s “Allegory of Spring” (created 1477 to 1482) 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 46
  • 47. Iraq handicapped New Labour 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 47  Iraq handicapped the progress of New Labour from 2003. Blair certainly spent much of his political capital persuading the Parliamentary Labour Party and the country to support the war, and the payback was felt both in Parliament and at the ballot box.  Blair’s stance on Iraq also damaged Britain’s relations with the European Union.
  • 48. New Labour did achieve most of its manifesto commitments 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 48  Blair’s reform agenda for the public services was not deflected badly because of his attention to the international stage. Number 10 aides claimed that he maintained his regular progress meetings with domestic ministers, and indeed that he spent more time thinking strategically in the second term (2001 – 05) than in the first (1997 – 2001).
  • 49. Shoulder to shoulder with America: President George W Bush and Tony Blair, 2003 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 49
  • 50. But against historical parallels, New Labour was a pygmy 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 50  New Labour certainly did achieve most of its manifesto commitments, which were specifically designed to be achievable within four years, and by this specific criterion the government was a success in 2001 to 2005.  But against historical parallels, and the aspirations aired repeatedly by the Prime Minister himself, the cracks showed. The second term was disappointing in relation to the expectations that Blair himself aroused and to the exceptional majority in Parliament that New Labour had.
  • 51. Comparison with Thatcher 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 51  In comparison to the achievements of successful second-term prime ministers like Thatcher, Blair experienced disappointment.  Blair must shoulder the blame because he appointed the ministers and the aides, and if they were no good he must take the responsibility.  He also failed sufficiently to learn the lessons either from his own first term (1997 to 2001), or from second- term leaders abroad such as President Bill Clinton.
  • 52. Bush and Blair were close buddies, very close indeed. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 52
  • 53. Blair needed to have finalised his agenda 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 53  Blair needed to have finalised his agenda for government, ready for his second term, which he had three years in opposition (1994 – 97), followed by four years in power (1997 – 2001) to prepare, and then to execute it.  Blair did none of these adequately. Admittedly, some factors were beyond his control, including 9/11 (though he could have avoided falling headlong into the Iraq war), scepticism towards the EU refusing to abate, globalisation taking more decisions away from national governments, and having such an antagonistic Chancellor (Gordon Brown).
  • 54. Decline in trust for politicians 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 54  Blair cannot escape blame also for presiding over a period when trust in and respect for politicians declined so much and turn-out in general elections fell so low (59% in 2001; 61% in 2005). So much for the promise of democratic renewal.  No issue leached trust quite as much as Iraq, compounded by Blair’s repeated pleas of ‘trust me’. Blair must be criticised for failing to stand up to the Bush administration, for taking Britain to war on a false prospectus, and for preparing so lamentably for the ‘post-war’ world in Iraq.
  • 56. Blair did not use his historic opportunity 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 56  New Labour achieved landslide general election victories in two successive elections, 1997 and 2001. Had Blair realised more fully his historic opportunity, much more could have been achieved.  Blair’s achievements were too modest. His chance fundamentally to refashion the country as he had remodelled the Labour Party came, and went, in 2001 – 2005.
  • 57. ‘Blairism’ 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 57  The traditional Labourite belief in the effectiveness of centralisation and high spending.  A quasi-Harold Wilson policy of technocratic managerialism, planning and targets within the confines of the existing welfare state.  A neo-Thatcherite adherence to extending markets and pricing into the public services.  None of the above was radical, let alone revolutionary.
  • 59. Blair came to power in 1997 promising a ‘New Britain’. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 59  Blair came to power in 1997 promising a ‘New Britain’. This did not happen.  Blair was a master of persuasion and presentation but this did not extend to policy-making and governing.  The effect of Blair upon Britain will be remembered as much for its opportunities lost as for its achievements.
  • 61. Labour dominated the 1997 Parliament 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 61  Labour won the General Election in May 1997 with an overall majority of 179 seats, a landslide victory.  Labour 419 seats  Conservatives 165  Liberal Democrats 46 seats
  • 62. Assumed to be certain of re-election in 2001 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 62  There had been no post-war Parliament in which the government was so continuously assumed to be certain of re-election in 2001 or 2002.  It was the first full Parliament since 1900 when the governing party held every seat it defended in a by-election (in this case from 1997 to 2001).  In no other full Parliament had the government had the government been ahead of the opposition in the opinion polls every month but one: September 2000.
  • 63. The People’s Princess, Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash 31st August 1997 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 63
  • 64. To achieve an historic full second term 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 64  Tony Blair was determined to compile a record in government that would ensure re-election and to achieve an historic full second term.  Running the economy well, demonstrating competence and ending the long-running debate about Labour’s fitness to govern were important means to this end.
  • 65. Diana, Princess of Wales, who died shortly after Blair became Prime Minister 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 65
  • 66. An assured parliamentary majority 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 66  Since 1970, office with an assured parliamentary majority had been a rare luxury for Labour.  Before taking office, nearly all the 1997 Cabinet had only experienced political life on the opposition benches.  The professionalism of Labour’s 1997 election campaign was widely noted, not least by the Conservatives.
  • 67. New standards in agenda-setting 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 67  Labour set new standards in agenda-setting, rapid rebuttal, disciplined adherence to a ‘message’, and identifying and contacting target voters.  Conservatives in Smith Square were certainly impressed, as they sought to learn lessons from the defeat. Once in government could the Labour Party maintain its momentum?
  • 68. New Labour’s landslide victory, May 1997 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 68
  • 69. A campaigning government 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 69  The Blair administration, more than any of its predecessors, tried to conduct itself as a campaigning government. Partly this derived from the long experience of opposition (1979 to 1997), partly from the lessons of Bill Clinton’s election victories in the United States and partly from the perceived successes of the 1994 – 97 period in opposition.
  • 70. Tony Blair with some of the 101 female Labour MPs elected in 1997 – Blair’s so-called ‘babes’ 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 70
  • 71. Labour’s five pledges, 1997 manifesto 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 71  Labour spent much of the Parliament struggling to keep the five pledges it had listed in the 1997 manifesto:  1 Cut class sizes to under 30 for 5 – 7 years olds  2 Introduce fast punishment for young offenders, halving the time between arrest and sentence  3 Cut NHS waiting lists by 100,000  4 Remove 250,000 under 25s from benefit  5 No rise in income tax rates; VAT on heating cut to 5%
  • 72. Difficulty with the five pledges 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 72  The last two promises were easily met. But the first three caused longer-term embarrassment.  The NHS came under great strain during epidemics in the first three winters (from 1997 to 2000) and waiting lists rose rather than fell.
  • 73. New Labour and education 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 73  David Blunkett proved an energetic Secretary of State for Education.  Infant schools’ class sizes in the end fell, but even that seemed only to highlight the failure to improve the situation in secondary schools.  And the government faced much unpopularity for imposing fees on university students and ending maintenance grants, at a time when it was trying to increase the numbers entering higher education.
  • 74. David Blunkett, Education Secretary 1997 to 2001 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 74
  • 75. New Labour’s advantages 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 75  Blair enjoyed some favourable conditions in order to maintain New Labour’s political dominance:  A long period of office – 1997 to 2007 – longer than previous Labour Prime Ministers Attlee, Wilson and Callaghan.  A large parliamentary majority  A weak opposition  A favourable climate of opinion
  • 76. But Blair’s record pales in comparison with Attlee 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 76  Despite New Labour’s advantages from 1997 onwards, Blair’s record pales in comparison with that of Attlee. Attlee’s post-war Labour government:  Coped with the transition from war to peace  Gave independence to India  Joined NATO  Created the National Health Service  Greatly extended public ownership and the welfare state
  • 77. Clement Attlee was a sea-change Prime Minister who altered the political, economic and social landscape of the United Kingdom 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 77
  • 78. Blair was not a sea-change prime minister 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 78  In comparison with Thatcher, Blair was not a sea- change prime minister. Thatcher had presided over:  Trade union reforms  Privatisation  Curbing inflation  The creation of a more dynamic enterprise culture
  • 79. Besides Attlee, Margaret Thatcher was the other sea-change prime minister of modern Britain. It could be said of her that most people have a dark side, she had nothing else. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 79
  • 80. Timeline of events 1997 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 80  1 May: Labour wins General Election (Labour 419 seats, Conservatives 165 seats, Liberal Democrats 46 seats)  2 May: Blair becomes PM and announces his Cabinet  6 May: The new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, announces Bank of England monetary policy committee to set interest rates  14 May: Queen’s Speech – 26 Bills promised
  • 81. Timeline of events 1997 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 81  19 June: William Hague defeats Kenneth Clarke, 92 to 70, to win the Conservative Party leadership, taking over from the defeated Prime Minister, John Major  30 June: Hong Kong returned to China  2 July: Labour’s first Budget gives £3 billion to education from ‘windfall tax’ on utilities but confirms Conservative spending limits until 1999
  • 82. William Hague, Leader of the Conservative Party, 1997 to 2001 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 82
  • 83. The new individualism 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 83  The new individualism of the Blair years was not Thatcherism, not market individualism, not atomization.  On the contrary, it means ‘institutionalised individualism’. Most of the rights and entitlements of the welfare state, for example, are designed for individuals rather than for families.
  • 84. The new individualism 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 84  In many cases the rights and entitlements of Blair’s Britain and since presuppose employment.  Employment in turn implies education and both of these presuppose mobility.  By all these requirements people are invited to constitute themselves as individuals: to plan, understand, design themselves as individuals.
  • 85. Thatcherism and New Labour led to the individualised society: the end of collectivism 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 85
  • 86. The retreat of tradition and custom 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 86  The new individualism, starting under Thatcher and Major and continued under Blair and since, is associated with the retreat of tradition and custom from our lives – a process related to globalisation and not just the influence of markets.  Social cohesion can’t be guaranteed by the top- down action of the state or by appeal to tradition.  We have to make our lives in a more active way.
  • 87. To make our lives in a more active way 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 87  The new individualism since Thatcher means that we have to make our lives in a more active way than was true of previous generations.  We need more actively to accept responsibilities for the consequences of what we do and the lifestyle habits we adopt.  All of us have to live in a more open and reflective manner than previous generations.
  • 89. Addressing inequality 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 89  The issue of how to address inequality continued to divide Labour and the Conservatives.  The political right dressed itself up in new clothing after the Second World War, following the fall of fascism. To survive, right-wing parties such as the British Conservative Party, had to adopt some of the values of the left, and accept the basic framework of the welfare state.
  • 90. Ideological ascendancy of neoliberalism since 1980s 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 90  Since the early 1980s, and especially after the Conservative election victory of 1983, neoliberalism, the belief that the market knows best, was in the ideological ascendancy until the financial meltdown of 2008 and the Great Recession of 2008 – 14.  Tony Blair took over most of the neoliberal views and policies of Thatcherism, but differences remained between New Labour and the Conservatives over attitudes to equality.
  • 93. Attitudes towards equality 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 93  The left favours greater equality, while the right sees society as inevitably hierarchical. Equality is a relative concept. The left seeks to reduce inequality.  The left not only pursue social justice, but believe that government has to play a key role in furthering that aim.  To be on the left is to believe in a politics of emancipation.
  • 94. Equality is relevant for life chances 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 94  Equality is important above all because it is relevant to people’s life chances, well-being and self-esteem.  A highly unequal society is harming itself by not making the best use of the talents and capacities of its citizens.  Inequalities can threaten social cohesion and can provoke high rates of crime.
  • 95. The Third Way as a policy agenda 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 95  Tony Blair wrote in 1998 that the Third Way was ‘the best label for the new politics which the progressive centre-left is forging in Britain and beyond.’  The Third Way of New Labour set out to combine economic efficiency with social justice, free markets with universal welfare.
  • 97. Broad policy objectives of New Labour 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 97 1) a dynamic knowledge-based economy 2) A strong civil society 3) A modern government based on partnership and decentralisation 4) A foreign policy based on international cooperation
  • 98. A dynamic knowledge-based economy 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 98  Tony Blair’s governments went a considerable way in achieving a dynamic knowledge-based economy in the United Kingdom.  Blair’s governments avoided the kind of financial crisis which had always been the lot of previous Labour governments, for example that of Harold Wilson’s government with the devaluation of the pound in 1967.
  • 99. Blair’s Britain had steady economic growth and increased pride in British culture 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 99
  • 100. The fashions of Alexander McQueen were part of Cool Britannia, the increased pride in British culture during Blair’s premiership 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 100
  • 101. Economic achievements of New Labour 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 101  Steady, uninterrupted economic growth  Low inflation  Declining unemployment  Heavy investment in the science base
  • 102. New Labour’s achievements 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 102  Pro-business  Pro-enterprise  Pro-market  For the first time there was a Labour government to which the business community was not hostile.
  • 103. New Labour under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown was pro-business, pro-enterprise and pro-market. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 103
  • 104. To deliver social justice 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 104  For the Third Way to succeed, New Labour had to show that it could use economic success to deliver social justice and social cohesion, both essential for its aim of a strong civil society.
  • 105. From the ‘Big Bang’ in the City in 1986, London had become the world’s main financial centre along with New York. The financial sector of the economy flourished under Blair’s government. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 105
  • 106. Blair’s rationale for the Third Way 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 106  Blair’s rationale for the Third Way was that globalisation was ‘inevitable’, even ‘desirable’.  He confirmed Labour’s belief that government should now maintain ‘strong, prudent discipline over financial and monetary policy’.  Echoing the fashionable verities of the day, Blair claimed there was ‘no right or left politics in economic management today’ as ‘the battle between the market and public sector is over’.
  • 107. London and the South East benefited from free- market capitalism under Blair as it had under Thatcher. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 107
  • 108. Further increase in the role of the market 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 108  The Third Way allowed for a further increase in the role of the market. Minor state assets might be sold off if they served no useful purpose by remaining in public hands.  Private capital could be used to fund public projects if government finance was unavailable; and commercial service providers might be introduced should they be considered more efficient.
  • 109. London boomed under Blair and became a global city detached from the rest of Britain. The centre of finance, media and fashion remains in London. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 109
  • 110. Part privatisation of the London tube 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 110  Labour in power partially privatised the London tube and the air traffic control agency.  Extended the Private Finance Initiative.  Allowed schools to be run by private companies.  The state was now considered to be but one of the available means of facilitating collective ends.
  • 111. Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon: ‘Love Actually’ (2003), a hit movie in Blair’s Britain. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 111
  • 112. Blair thought the state could still have an important role. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 112  Yet Blair thought the state could still have an important role, albeit not one as direct as that assumed after 1945.  Government needed to ‘set a framework in which the potential and talent of our people is liberated, in which new businesses can be created and old ones adapt to survive’.
  • 113. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 113
  • 114. Minimum standards at the workplace 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 114  The Labour government should also set minimum standards at the workplace and ensure a level playing field between employers and employed.  This was why Labour in office introduced the European Union’s social chapter and a national minimum wage, and gave trade unions a statutory right to be recognized.
  • 115. Keira Knightley’s movie career blossomed in Blair’s Britain 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 115
  • 116. Harry Potter, the international best-seller, began publication in 1997: “Wingardium Leviosa” 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 116
  • 118. J K Rowling, author of the best-selling book series in history and one of the richest and most influential women in modern Britain. 29/03/2016Blair's New Labour 118