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.
Continuities and contradictions underpinning Amitai Etzioni’s communitarian influence on New Labour
Across a wide range of social
commentators there has been little doubt that New Labour is deeply
influenced by the thoughts and sentiments of Amitai Etzioni and the
new communitarianmovement. Prideaux 1 and Heron 2 independently point to the
original but persisting concept of ‘stakeholding’ and
its emphasis on individuals taking an
distinction between the ‘communitarianism’ of
political philosophers and what they perceive as the
‘popular appropriation’ of the term by political
parties, the media and political movements, such as the
communitarianmovement launched by Amitai Etzioni. See also
Minogue 1997: 161.