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.’ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’ (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass ) Introduction If little remained that was revolutionary in the spirit or content of post-war social democracy, it still appealed to values that

in The Third Way and beyond
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War. This analysis was strongly informed by the postwar perception of Britain’s industrial decline and its relation to an imperial and post-imperial global financial role serving the interests of the City of London. Madeleine Davis (chapter 3) focuses on the New Left’s idea of ‘labourism’, a venerable notion given new life by this analysis. Mark WickhamJones (chapter 6) looks at one of the assumptions underpinning that concept: Labour’s supposed isolation from the rest of European social democracy. Both, however, consider the shifting political projects of the New

in Interpreting the Labour Party
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Criticisms, futures, alternatives

In the late 1990s Third Way governments were in power across Europe - and beyond, in the USA and Brazil, for instance. The Third Way experiment was one that attracted attention worldwide. The changes made by Left parties in Scandinavia, Holland, France or Italy since the late 1980s are as much part of Third Way politics as those developed in Anglo-Saxon countries. Since the early 1990s welfare reform has been at the heart of the Centre-Left's search for a new political middle way between post-war social democracy and Thatcherite Conservatism. For Tony Blair, welfare reform was key to establishing his New Labour credentials - just as it was for Bill Clinton and the New Democrats in the USA. Equality has been 'the polestar of the Left', and the redefinition of this concept by Giddens and New Labour marks a significant departure from post-war social democratic goals. The most useful way of approaching the problem of the Blair Government's 'Third Way' is to apply the term to its 'operational code': the precepts, assumptions and ideas that actually inform policy choice. The choice would be the strategy of public-private partnership (PPP) or the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), as applied to health policy. New Labour is deeply influenced by the thoughts and sentiments of Amitai Etzioni and the new communitarian movement. Repoliticisation is what stands out from all the contributions of reconstructing the Third Way along more progressive lines.

Blair , T. ( 1998 ) The Third Way: New Politics for the New Century , London , Fabian Society . Etzioni , A. ( 2000 ) The Third Way to a Good Society , London , Demos . Giddens , A. ( 1998 ) The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy , Cambridge , Polity Press .

in The Third Way and beyond

attempt to reconcile social justice and economic efficiency. Alternatively, as Cammack sees things, Giddens has deliberately subverted the language of social democracy in order to usher in a new and aggressive phase of neo-liberalism. On his account, the Third Way is not an attempt to address the perceived failures of both the Old Left and neo-liberalism, but rather the ideological

in The Third Way and beyond

speaking the Marxian language of exploitative capitalist relations, also dismiss the notion of a meaningful Third Way. Of course, social democracy can itself lay claim to being the original Third Way; between state socialism and laissez-faire capitalism. The numerous individuals and groups that remain true to the European social democratic heritage are thus understandably put out

in The Third Way and beyond
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The Nairn–Anderson interpretation

work has provided a distinctive explanation of the difficulties encountered by the party, the failures it has generated and the many disappointments it has induced. His analysis is, moreover, unusual in the emphasis it placed on the need to examine Labour’s record within the context of European social democracy. Interestingly, many of Nairn’s points echoed those made by Egon Wertheimer, a German social democrat and journalist, one of the first to compare Labour to its continental counterparts. Wertheimer’s 1930 Portrait of the Labour Party was, however, a largely

in Interpreting the Labour Party

foregrounding many of that tradition’s most significant assumptions and he employs them in a particularly lucid manner. ITLP_C09.QXD 18/8/03 10:00 am Page 135 Steven Fielding and Declan McHugh 135 It should nonetheless be borne in mind that the social democratic view of the party, like all others, has not stood still. Thus, The Progressive Dilemma was the product of a particular moment – after the collapse of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the late 1980s but before Blair assumed the Labour leadership in 1994 – in the history of British social democracy. Therefore

in Interpreting the Labour Party
Contextual, analytical and theoretical issues

of social democracy, a distinctiveness we overlook at our peril. The term social democracy has become increasingly slippery as it has become ever-more-loosely invoked and ever-more-intimately connected to discussions of the future of Centre-Left political parties across Europe. What this suggests is the value of comparative labour studies. Important points follow from an attempt to locate contemporary British political dynamics comparatively. In particular, Labour’s connection to European social democracy was always somewhat tenuous and indirect (see, for instance

in Interpreting the Labour Party

pessimistic, proposing that changes in capitalism created new and fundamental constraints upon social democracy. For Smith (1994) such transformations of the economic environment drastically limited Labour’s ideological options. Similarly, Crouch (1997) viewed ideological revision as inescapable given the redundancy of demand management and Fordist production, the internationalisation of capital and the emergence of new occupational groups. John Gray, however, provided the most vivid exposition of how the new international economy impelled ideological change. For Gray (1996

in Interpreting the Labour Party