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contested but consistently under-specified. Clift 9 argues that it needs more rigourous definition before firm conclusions can be drawn about its compatibility with contemporary European social democracy. In the words of Przeworski, 10 how many ways can be third? Merkel 11 claims that there are four distinct ‘Third Way models’ in Europe. Giddens 12 argues that social democratic

in The Third Way and beyond

.’ ‘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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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

’ promote egalitarian social democratic goals? Driver argues that there are continuities between Labour and Conservative approaches to welfare reform. However, he suggests that there are important social democratic elements in New Labour policy which cast doubt on a straightforward ‘neo-liberal convergence’ thesis. There is some egalitarianism and social democracy in New Labour

in The Third Way and beyond

Way’ emerged in 1998. There were two publications that marked the emergence of a ‘Third Way’ discourse: The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy , by Anthony Giddens of the London School of Economics, and The Third Way: New Politics for the New Century , by Tony Blair. 7 Both publications were given considerable media coverage, with exposure being particularly given to

in The Third Way and beyond
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Welfare reform and the ‘Third Way’ politics of New Labour and the New Democrats

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. 1 In government

in The Third Way and beyond
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essentially been an ideological wing of radical liberalism. To reiterate: it was nineteenth-century capitalist industrialisation that created the working class and socialism. From its very beginnings socialism was a many-faceted ideology, one that can be roughly divided into four main types, all of which have been influenced by idealist or ‘utopian’ socialism: social reformism or social democracy; Marxism or

in Understanding political ideas and movements