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A year after new Labour’s landslide victory, the purpose, nature and significance of the famous Blair project are as mysterious as they were on that magic May morning when the last government was sent packing.We know what the new regime is not; we don’t yet know what it is. It is not even social democratic or social liberal.Like the New Democrats, New Labour takes globalisation as a given and seeks to run with what it believes to be the grain of the global marketplace.
By the same token, it has no wish to undo the relentless hollowing out of the public domain or to halt the increasing casualisation of labour-white collar as well as blue collar-that marked the Thatcher and Major years.
The notion that public goods should be provided by public authorities, animated by an ethic of public service to which market norms are alien, appears to be as strange to it as to its predecessors.
The new wine of the free market was to be poured from the old bottles of the British ancien regime.
An individualistic economy was to go hand in hand with an authoritarian polity. In ten years, the Thatcher governments transformed the political economy and the public culture.
Unlike the Thatcherites, however, it also takes the European Union as a given, and seeks to run with the grain of European integration-including monetary integration.
Old Labour New Labour Essay Solving Word Problems With Fractions
The paradox is that, as the Thatcherites correctly spotted, part of the purpose of the EU is to Europeanise a solidaristic model of the society and economy, drawn partly from the continental social democratic tradition and partly from the (also continental) tradition of catholic social thought. Although it has not said so in so many words, it is also for the supranational space.Let market forces rip, they thought, and talent would automatically command its market price.The only role for the state was to eliminate the obstacles to the free play of market forces-including, of course, the obstacles presented by traditional elites.But it has a radically different conception of the forces that empower achievers.For the Thatcherites, the vehicle of mobility was the undistorted market.In practice, they assumed that centralisation was the only possible vehicle for marketisation; that if they were to hobble or crush the manifold institutional and cultural obstacles to their free-market utopia, they would have to make the maximum possible use of the powers which the ancient British doctrine of absolute and inalienable parliamentary sovereignty confers on the government of the day.This, of course, was the great paradox of Thatcherism.New Labour, with the same, not particularly impressive, proportion of the popular vote behind it, speaks and acts as though it embodies a national consensus-a consensus of the well-intentioned, embracing rich and poor, young and old, suburbs and inner cities, black and white, hunters and animal rights campaigners, successful and unsuccessful.In place of the Thatcherite cold shower, it offers a warm bath, administered by a hegemonic people’s party appealing equally to every part of the nation.Margaret Thatcher was a warrior; Tony Blair is a healer. Where she spoke of “enemies within,” he speaks of “the people.” The Thatcherites saw themselves as a beleaguered minority, surrounded by insidious, relentless and powerful enemies.There were always new battles to fight, new obstacles to uproot, new heresies to stamp out.