1st Edition

Losing Labour's Soul?
New Labour and the Blair Government 1997-2007

ISBN 9780415355001
Published March 19, 2008 by Routledge
264 Pages

USD $54.95

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Book Description

Based on extensive original research and interviews with a wide variety of key players, this is a compelling assessment of the Labour Party in power.

Beginning with a detailed account of the development of New Labour, including the ideological tensions within the party, Eric Shaw provides a sophisticated analysis of the Labour Government during an unprecedented period of power.

Offering the most detailed examination yet published of the actual performance of the party in several key social and economic policy areas, Losing Labour’s Soul? will be of enormous interest to students of British politics, labour history and party politics.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. The British Social Democratic Tradition  2. New Labour and Social Justice  3. Equality of Opportunity: The Case of Secondary Education  4. Is What Matters What Works?  The Case of the Private Finance Initiative  5. Modernisation in Action: The Case of NHS Reform  6. New Labour’s Representational Role: The Case of Employment Relations  7. Dynamics of New Labour  8. For What Does New Labour Stand?  9. For Whom Does New Labour Stand?  10. Conclusion: Losing Labour’s Soul?

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Eric Shaw is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Stirling, UK.


'Shaw has written a rich intellectual history of the party's struggle for credibility in a period of resurgent neo-liberalism and the 'death' of socialism. This is an authoritative and painstaking analysis of New Labour ideology by one of Labour's best informed critics.' - John Callaghan, University of Salford, UK

'This is an important and timely book, clearly and perceptively written. Eric Shaw tackles head-on, carefully and objectively, one of the key questions in British politics today. The Labour Party without its soul has no purpose, for it was created to help the poorest. Has Blair removed that soul? If so, can it be regained?' - Francis Beckett, Author and journalist, biographer of four Prime Ministers – Attlee, Macmillan, Blair and Brown

'The book itself is soulful deliverance. The introductory chapter on its own, a perceptive and compelling review of the theoretical literature on new Labour, is worthy of this claim; its lessons could be applied to party systems everywhere in Western democracies. The first two chapters offer discerning accounts of the principals of social democracy. The remaining policy case studies are salvation writ large for political scientists and policy analysts.' - A. F. Johnson, CHOICE magazine