42 Facts About New Labour


New Labour was a period in the history of the British Labour Party from the mid to late 1990s until 2010 under the leadership of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

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New Labour was influenced by the political thinking of Anthony Crosland and the leadership of Blair and Brown as well as Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell's media campaigning.

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The political philosophy of New Labour was influenced by the party's development of Anthony Giddens' Third Way which attempted to provide a synthesis between capitalism and socialism.

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Mark Bevir argues that another motivation for the creation of New Labour was as a response to the emergence of the New Right in the preceding decades.

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New Labour brand was developed to regain trust from the electorate and to portray a departure from their traditional socialist policies which was criticised for its breaking of election promises and its links between trade unions and the state, and to communicate the party's modernisation to the public.

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New Labour maintained this wider support at the 2001 general election and won a third consecutive victory in the 2005 general election for the first time ever in the history of the New Labour Party.

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New Labour lost the 2010 general election which resulted in the first hung parliament in thirty-six years and led to the creation of a Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government.

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New Labour was succeeded as party leader by Ed Miliband, who abandoned the New Labour branding and moved the Labour Party's political stance further to the left under the branding One Nation Labour.

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The term New Labour was coined by Blair in his October 1994 Labour Party Conference speech as part of the slogan "new Labour, new Britain".

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Blair argued for increased modernisation at the conference, asserting that "parties that do not change die, and [New Labour] is a living movement not a historical monument".

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In 1997, New Labour won a landslide victory at the general election after eighteen years of Conservative government, winning a total of 418 seats in the House of Commons—the largest victory in the party's history.

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The party was victorious in 2001 and 2005, making Blair New Labour's longest-serving Prime Minister and the first to win three consecutive general elections.

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New Labour was the first Labour leader to win a general election since Harold Wilson in 1974.

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The New Labour government passed laws in 1998 to establish a Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and the first elections for these were held in 1999.

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New Labour lent military support to the United States' 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.

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In March 2003, the New Labour government, fearing Saddam Hussein's alleged access to weapons of mass destruction, participated in the American-led invasion of Iraq.

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Once New Labour was established, it was developed as a brand, portrayed as a departure from Old Labour, the party of pre-1994 which had been criticised for regularly betraying its election promises and was linked with trade unionism, the state and benefit claimants.

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New Labour used the party's brand to continue this modernisation and it was used to communicate the modernisation of the party to the public.

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Leaders of New Labour therefore created and ran an efficient and calculated media-handling strategy in an effort to increase electoral success.

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Under Neil Kinnock, New Labour attempted to widen its electoral support from narrow class divisions.

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New Labour won greater support among younger voters than older, but there was no significant gender difference.

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In 2005, New Labour's support was much lower than in the previous two elections which David Rubinstein has attributed to anger at the war in Iraq and towards Blair himself.

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New Labour spent considerable resources maintaining a good public image which sometimes took priority over the cabinet.

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New Labour attempted to control public spending and sought to increase the funding for education and healthcare.

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New Labour oversaw Labour's relationship with the media and believed in the importance of the agenda-setting role of the press.

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New Labour felt that the agenda of the press would influence important political broadcasters.

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New Labour was a valued news source for journalists because he was close to Blair—Campbell was the first press secretary to regularly attend cabinet meetings.

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New Labour developed and subscribed to the Third Way, a platform designed to offer an alternative "beyond capitalism and socialism".

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New Labour offered a middle way between the neoliberal market economics of the New Right which it saw as economically efficient; and the ethical reformism of post-1945 Labour which shared New Labour's concern for social justice.

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New Labour's ideology departed with its traditional beliefs in achieving social justice on behalf of the working class through mass collectivism.

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New Labour tended to emphasise social justice rather than the equality which was the focus of previous Labour governments and challenged the view that social justice and economic efficiency are mutually exclusive.

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New Labour accepted the economic efficiency of markets and believed that they could be detached from capitalism to achieve the aims of socialism while maintaining the efficiency of capitalism.

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New Labour embraced market economics because they believed they could be used for their social aims as well as economic efficiency.

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New Labour maintained Conservative spending plans in their first two years in office and, during this time, Gordon Brown earned the reputation as an "Iron Chancellor" with his "Golden Rule" and conservative handling of the budget.

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New Labour considered the view that New Labour's welfare reforms were workfarist and argued that in this context it must refer to social policy being put in line with market economic growth.

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Controversy on the subject came to the fore when Andrew Neather—a former adviser to Jack Straw, Tony Blair and David Blunkett—said that New Labour ministers had a hidden agenda in allowing mass immigration into Britain.

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New Labour stated that the United Kingdom needed a stronger national identity and signalled a tougher stance on groups promoting Islamist extremism.

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New Labour argued that Labour's pursuit of a "dynamic market economy" was a way of continuing the operation of a capitalist market economy which prevented governments from interfering to achieve social justice.

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New Labour criticised the party for not preventing inequality from widening and argued that New Labour's ambition to win elections had moved the party towards the right.

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Underlining the significant ideological shifts that had taken place and indicating why the reception of New Labour was negative amongst traditional left-wing supporters, Lord Rothermere, the proprietor of The Daily Mail, defected to the Labour Party, stating: "I joined New Labour because that was obviously the New Conservative party".

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New Labour argued that "the regulation of financial markets is the single most pressing issue in the world economy" and that "global commitment to free trade depends upon effective regulation rather than dispenses with the need for it".

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New Labour challenged the failure of the Millennium Dome project and Labour's inability to deal with irresponsible businesses.

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