Did Blair's victory on 1st May represent a critical election? It is commonly claimed that the British Labour party has been transfigured, with a new organisation, public image and strategic appeal. But has this development penetrated all levels of the party?
These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel New Labour was the dominant political force in the UK for more than a decade, but even its biggest devotees proclaim it over. Justin Parkinson looks at its rise and fall. Under Michael Foot, it suffered a landslide defeat, taking just Memories of the last Labour government, which had ended in economic paralysis and the "winter of discontent", were strong.
The Social Democratic Party, founded by breakaway Labour moderates, was also draining support. The situation looked hopeless. Sharing a Commons office, they began discussing how Labour might, just might, become electable again.
As Labour leader he fought hard to remove the left-wing Militant tendency from the party and attempted to modernise its image and policies. Under his guidance the red rose symbol - rather than the red flag - was adopted.
Mandelson also talent-spotted Blair and Brown, to whom he became a friend and mentor. But the election saw another big loss, with the Conservatives taking a seat majority. They both rose under Kinnock, with Brown becoming shadow trade and industry secretary and Blair shadow home secretary. In and Labour had expected to lose to the Tories, but in came its biggest disappointment, with a third defeat in a row.
After the election, Kinnock resigned and Smith took over the leadership, with Brown as shadow chancellor and Blair keeping the home affairs brief. Blair and Brown now wanted to beat the Tories on their own ground, making Labour appear an obvious, safe, reliable party of government. The phrase "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" was a key example of the strategy.
Blair, Brown and Mandelson, now an MP, were digesting the lessons of four election defeats.
They became convinced that Labour must drop some of its old orthodoxies - such as being seen as a high-tax party - to convince the public it was ready for power. When Smith died of a heart attack in Maythe modernisers knew their time had come.
Mandelson, previously seen as closer to the early front-runner Brown, switched to back Blair. This caused a huge rift in "The Project", as the modernising scheme became known, which would last more than a decade.
Brown, though widely regarded as the senior figure in the partnership, stood aside for the more telegenic Blair after the two met to hammer out a deal at an Islington restaurant.
Thousands of articles - and even a TV film - have speculated about the terms of their agreement, especially an apparent promise from Blair to hand over power to Brown at some point in the future. The message was that Labour had changed. Our mission - New Britain. New Labour - New Britain. The party won a seat majority - the biggest in its history on a manifesto which not only promised no income tax rises, but also a pledge to stick to Conservative spending plans.
Blair quickly became the global pin-up for centre-left politicians. The "Third Way", described as the ideological underpinning of the New Labour project and bringing market models to some government-run services, aroused interest across the western world.
For now, New Labour could do what it liked in the Commons. The huge majority meant backbench rebellions could be brushed off.
There was one significant casualty for The Project during the first New Labour government. Mandelson, who had moved from the background to the frontline, was sacked - twice - from the cabinet.New Labour and Family Policy New Labour was in power from between – There are three things you need to know about New Labour’s Social Policies towards the family.
Parts of New Labour's political philosophy linked crime with social exclusion and pursued policies to encourage partnerships between social and police authorities to lower crime rates whereas other areas of New Labour's policy maintained a .
New Labour's family values. Despite Jack Straw's protestations that the government is 'not about lecturing people about how they should live their lives', the use of the state to influence and shape people's behaviour runs like a thread throughout New Labour's family and welfare policy.
New Labour's communitarianisms Abstract different policy implications. New Labour thinking is of ten associated with the work of Amitai alternative forms of family and child-centred education.
Conservative values may include hierarchy and authority, national culture, the domest ic. New Labour was the dominant political force in the UK for more than a decade, but even its biggest devotees proclaim it over. with Brown having primacy over vast areas of domestic policy.
The evidence we have considered suggests that, contrary to the skeptical view, the party did move towards the center ground from to , particularly on many of the traditional touchstones of socialist faith. The changes in official Labour party policy seem to reflect the attitudes and values of backbench Labour MPs.