New Labour: ‘The Road Less Travelled’?

Meredith, Stephen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2382-1015 (2003) New Labour: ‘The Road Less Travelled’? Politics, 23 (3). pp. 163-171. ISSN 0263-3957

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This article offers a contribution to the debate in recent issues of this journal concerning the relative ‘newness’ or otherwise of New Labour. It briefly assesses the significant arguments of the respective academic protagonists and asks if, in responding to a changing social and economic climate, New Labour, the highly focused use of language and rhetoric aside, is, in a significant sense, different to the measured, pragmatic and reformist revisions of the past. It emphasises significant associations and continuities in Labour’s recent evolution and the largely rhetorical and politically (and electorally) expedient nature of the party’s current designation. It offers an interpretation of New Labour, based around two related observations of the party’s historically broad and complex political culture and diverse perceptions and preferences of Labour’s traditionally centre-right ‘governing elite’, that suggests that the post-1994 ‘New’ Labour Party possesses significant precedents within elements of Labour’s diverse, centre-right ‘dominant coalition’.

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