Meredith, Stephen Clive
Labours Old and New: The Parliamentary Right of the British Labour Party 1970-79 and the Roots of New Labour.
Critical Labour Movement Studies
Manchester University Press, Manchester.
This study is concerned with the Old Labour right at a critical juncture of social democratic and Labour politics. It attempts to understand the complex transition from so-called Old Right to New Right or New Labour , and locates at least some of the roots of the latter in the complexity, tensions and fragmentation of the former during the lean years of social democracy in the 1970s. The analysis addresses both the short and long-term implications of the emerging ideological, organisational and political complexity and divisions of the parliamentary Labour right and Labour revisionism, previously concealed within the loosely adhesive post-war framework of Keynesian reformist social democracy, which have been neglected factors in explanations of Labour s subsequent shift leftwards, the longer-term gestation of the SDP and the evolution of New Labour. It establishes the extent to which New Labour is a legatee of at least some elements of the disparate and discordant Labour right and tensions of social democratic revisionism in the 1970s. In so doing, it advances our understanding of a key moment in the development of social democracy and the making of the contemporary British Labour Party. The book represents a significant departure in analyses and explanations of both the problems and demise of post-war social democracy and decline of Old Labour and the origins and roots of New Labour. It will be invaluable to anyone interested in the complex development of recent Labour, social democratic and British politics.