The Labour Party And New Labour Social Policy Essay

The Labour Party is a political party in the United Kingdom. Founded at the start of the twentieth century, it has been since the 1920s the chief party of the left in Britain. Its formation was the consequence of many old ages of difficult attempt by working people, trade union members and socialists, united by the end of altering the British Parliament to stand for the involvements of everybody. The labour Party had been a booster of societal democracy. Social democracy is a signifier of socialism which aims to reform the capitalist system to cut down societal inequality and advance societal justness. The nucleus values of the societal democracy can be seen in the old Clause IV which supported ; equality, redistribution of wealth, societal justness, nationalization, full employment and public assistance for all.

The laterality of the Conservative Thatcher authorities with its ‘New Right ‘ policies in British political relations created a state of affairs which made it progressively hard for labor to hold any believable influence in the running of the state. The Labour party was seen as a ‘spent force ‘ , with its tired policies being viewed as irrelevant and out of touch with the modern universe. Something had to alter ideologically within the party in order for Labour to hold any realistic opportunity of being re-elected in the close hereafter. When Tony Blair was elected the leader of the Labour party on 21 July 1994, the Conservative party had been in power for 15 old ages.

One of Tony Blair statements about the demand for modernization of the party was really cheerful.Writing in the “ New Statesman ” , he stated that “ the ground we have been out of power for 15 old ages is simple -that society changed and we refused to alter with it ” ( Marxism Today, 1998 ; p11 )

In old general elections the British electorate had chosen to be governed by the Conservative party.

Blair ‘s end was to do the Labour party electable once more with the aid of his New Labour rebranding. One of the first undertakings Blair took was to re-write Clause IV from the Labour fundamental law in 1995, to eleminate the committedness to common ownership and in consequence to the old manner societal democracy. These were replaced by committednesss to the free market, to the environment, to the stoping of favoritism and to equality of chance for all.

New Labour ” was foremost termed as an alternate stigmatization for the Labour Party, dating from a conference motto foremost used by the Labour Party in 1994 which was later seen in a bill of exchange pronunciamento published by the party in 1996, called “ New Labour, New Life For Britain ” .

After going leader of the party in 1994, Blair made a decisive interruption off from Old Labour ‘s traditional political stance. In policy footings New Labour frequently refer to themselves as ‘The Third Way ‘ between Old Labour, which they believe to be excessively extremist, and New Right which they consider to hold been excessively concerned by the rule of laissez-faire and individuality. The “ Third Way ” sought to happen a in-between land between two instead conflicting political orientations. Traditional Socialism proposed collectivized solutions to most economic and societal jobs: province ownership of the agencies of production and major industries, an extended public assistance province, strong trade brotherhoods and high degrees of personal revenue enhancement to finance the redistribution of wealth and income. The New Right, on the other manus, championed free market capitalist economy, the chase of single ego involvement, a smaller, reduced function for the province, free labor markets and low degrees of personal revenue enhancement.

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Argument and inquiries have been raised about the political nature of the New Labour and “ Third Way ” .

The nucleus of them is a inquiry if the Labour party has been changed and modernised so, or whether “ New Labour ” is in fact “ Old Labour ” , which had to utilize prefix “ new ” in order to remember the ballots and to return in power?

The public treatment of this issue go more intense with labor ‘s landslide triumph in 1997.In the late 1980, s party went through a procedure of policy reappraisal. This procedure provoked reactions from many bookmans Some critics argue that new labor is so “ new ” in the one or the other manner ( e.g. Heffernan, 2001 ) other province that it does non stand for a interruption with its younger yesteryear but comments a return to an older paradigm of societal democracy ( e.g. Shaw,1996 ) Covering with specific ideological job two point of views can be observed. On the one manus, some scholar define New labor in many ways as Neo-liberals undertaking which is, in many facet, similar to Thatcherism ( Hay,1999: Heffernan 2001, ) Others argue that it does non encompass the absolute social-democracy orthodoxy but still belongs to the household of socialist ideas-even if in a more modern manner. Some in this group claim that New Labour managed to happen the “ 3rd manner ” so: seeking to maintain balance between “ economic success ” and “ societal inclusion ” , between “ market ” and “ society ” ( e.g. Giddens 1998 ; p7-9 ) .

One portion of the argument consists of treatment if new labor includes renewed political orientation or it if it merely presents a new image.

Tony Blair implied that new labour political orientation, alternatively of giving importance to province control, category battle and equality – as would be the instance with Old Labour-gives much importance to a stable and competitory market, societal inclusion and the attainment of economic growing. In Blair ‘s words “ higher educational criterion are the key to international competitory and inclusive society for the hereafter ” ( Blair,1998: p18 )

New labor scheme is non based on class-distinction.different from old labour which is biased in favor of the working alternatively, new labor puts frontward an all encompassing class that focuses on community.The enemies of new labors are no longer portrayed as belonging to the opinion or in-between categories, but are those who are portrayed as harming the community.

Such findings relate to category designation. Tony Blair famously declared in 1998 that “ we ‘re all in-between category now ” and has systematically maintained that the category war is over – those are the “ old divisions ” that we need to acquire over by, for case, reconstituting instruction and the labour market.

For illustration, as Blair argued, “ instruction is the best economic policy there is ” ( Driver and Martell,1998: p57 )

New labour seeks to travel from a passive to an active, preventative public assistance province. The public assistance system should be proactive, forestalling poorness by guaranting that people have the right instruction, preparation and support.

Tony Blair will perpetrate himself to “ equality ” , rejecting Old Labour demands for “ equality of result ” and specifying it as equal chances for all in instruction, employment and as citizens.

Opportunity for all ‘ was indicated as a end of New Labour with other similar looks such as equity, and societal justness every bit good as other construct of aims were, sometimes, added with it like equal worth in New Labour ‘s linguistic communication. Then what does really ‘opportunity for all ‘ mean in their context? White ( 1998 ) argues that it involves a committedness to existent chance for basic goods such as employment and instruction.

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First of wholly, as Driver & A ; Martell ( 2000 ) and Fairclough ( 2000 ) indicate, chance for all contrasted with, traditional socialist ‘s value, equality, in peculiar, equality of result. In other words, it shifted the significance of societal justness from equality of result to equality of chance.

Public disbursement and revenue enhancement is one of the countries where the New labor under Tony Blair is most clearly different from old labor. Policies towards province pensions provide a clear illustration.

Many bookmans hold that New labour political orientation, scheme and policies are adopted by the Conservative Government.

Some cardinal parts of its heritage from the conservative are identified like efforts to command public disbursement.privatisation, the growing of agencies proving and the growing of inequality.

New Labour has been really enthusiastic towards the voluntary sector – merely as the Thatcher authorities embraced the voluntary sector in the name of autonomy and endeavor, New Labour has in the name of community reclamation and contributory citizenship.

New Labour ‘s economic policy is built around the consolidation of a close working relationship between the authorities and employers, where trade brotherhood power barely characteristics.

Although economic policy would non be different from the 1 that Conservatives introduced, some policies like societal public assistance facets would be adjusted in such a manner that it would be in favor of society for illustration, giving excess support for wellness and instruction without important alterations to income revenue enhancement.

There is a emphasis on flinging the Conservative reforms that failed, but maintaining those that worked.New Labour phrase “ what counts is what works ” ( Powell, 1999 )

Tony Blair argued that “ some things the conservativists got right ; we will non alter them, where they got things incorrect that we will do alteration ” ( Labour Party, 1997 )

Blair ‘s conservativism is besides reflected in his acceptance of the linguistic communication of the new right: Labour ‘s policy paperss on public assistance and poorness are permeated by the impressions of public assistance ‘dependency ‘ , ‘community ‘ , ‘family ‘ , ‘obligations ‘ , ,’duties ‘ and ‘responsibilities ‘ . Rights and entitlements to benefits, and nice schools, health care and lodging barely characteristic at all in this position.

Under motto of “ doing work wage ” , it is intended that the lower limit pay, and a partial fusing of the revenue enhancement and benefit system will guarantee that people who move from public assistance to work should be financially better.

The New Deal Policy of welfare-to-work, The Working Families Tax Credit strategy are clearly set out within New Labour ‘s 1997 Election Manifesto and are seen as a cardinal portion of New Labour ‘s Third Way policy, which is phrased by the acronym PAP ( Pragmatism and Populism ) .

In a series of publications from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions ( 1998a and 1998b ) , the Department for Education and Employment ( 1997 ) , the Department of Social Security ( 1998 ) and the Social Exclusion Unit ( 1998 ) , the institutional construction to come on New Labour ‘s urban policy aims was set out. It was clear from these publications that New Labour saw area-based urban policies as no more than additions to mainline policies for lodging, wellness, income support and instruction. Like Conservatives, Blair ‘s authorities stressed the synergistic nature of urban policy: centrally funded local programmes were set within the wider context of New Labour ‘s national programme of societal policy reforms in such countries as wellness, instruction and the New Deal Welfare for work.

In his address to the 1997 Labour Party conference Blair argued that ‘a nice society is non based on rights. It is based on responsibility. Our responsibility to each other. To all should be given chance ; from all duty demanded. ‘

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There is a permeant conservativism at the bosom of New Labour which forms the footing of Blair ‘s much vaunted vision of a ‘new society ‘ . Blair negotiations of making a ‘new colony ‘ between the person and society, wherein the emphasis on the person will be accompanied by a new function for societal establishments such as household, community and the province. At the head of this procedure is an onslaught on those on a scope of benefits, but this is a cuneus to drive a wider docket of public assistance reconstituting where we all have the duty to supply for our pensions, our health care, the instruction of our kids and so on. State proviso is to be removed or, at the really least, residualised and stigmatised. This is an docket to go on with the Tories ‘ scheme of privatizing what is left of the populace sector and cutting the societal pay.

Although at that place seems to be a important continuance of policy in many countries at that place ate differences every bit good. The similarities and differences between New Labour and Thatcherism hold changing grades of importance in these theories. Tony Blair demurred from the Thatcherites in a figure of countries, although they were ne’er keen to underscore them excessively hard. Unlike her, he wanted a much more affable relationship with the European Union: unlike her, he wanted a more socially broad society, and many of his protagonists see the debut of civil partnerships as one of New Labour ‘s most abiding alterations. Unlike her, he enacted alterations to the fundamental law.

Surely Labour ‘s first move was pure free market. The Bank of England gained the freedom to put involvement rates and prosecute rising prices marks. It was bold. Even the Tories had refused to make it, despite force per unit area from the Adam Smith Institute.

The Labour besides managed to present statute laws for Scots Parliament and Welsh Assembly and reform House of Lords.


Although the bulk of the policies which have been adopted by New Labour seem to be forcing for a neo-liberal or free market political docket, it is hard to jointly place the party under a individual ideological header, because of the changing political stance it has taken on a scope of issues. Furthermore I have explained to what extent New Labour ‘s societal policies can be considered similar to those pursued by old Conservative authorities. In general New labor has a clearly typical attack from Old Labour, nevertheless some policy acceptance can be noted with the Conservatives, peculiarly in the countries of public outgo, denationalization, the assorted economic system, and welfare-to-work.


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  • Blair, T. ( 1998 ) . The Third Way: New Politics for a New Century London: Fabians Society
  • Blair, T. ( 1996 ) . New Britain: My Vision of a Young Country. London: Fourth Estate.
  • Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, 1998a: Regeneration Programmes – the manner frontward, London: DETR.
  • Department for Education and Employment, 1997: Social welfare to Work Employment Zones.
  • Department of Social Security, 1998: New Ambitions for Our State: A New Contract for Welfare. London: Darmstadtium
  • Giddens, A. ( 1998 ) . The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy. Cambridge: Polity Press
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  • Heffernan, R. ( 2001 ) . New Labour and Thatcherism: Political Change in Britain. Basingstoke: Macmillan