Where other books are either highly partisan dismissals or appreciations of the Third Way, or dull sociological accounts, this book gets behind the clichés in order to show just what is left of Labour party ideology and what the future may hold.
New Labour has changed the face of Britain. Culture, class, education, health, the arts, leisure, the economy have all seen seismic shifts since the 1997 election that raised Blair to power. The Labour that rules has distanced itself from the failed Labour of the 70s and 80s, but the core remains. Labour remains gripped by its own past - unable and unwilling to shed its ties to the old Labour party, but determined to avoid the mistakes of which lead to four electoral defeats between 1979 and 1992. Cronin covers the full history of the party from its post war triumph through decades of shambolic leadership against ruthless and organised opposition to the resurgent New Labour of the 90s that finally took Britain into the new millennium.
Table of Contents
Introduction: New Labour and its Pasts. I. LABOUR'S AMBIGUOUS LEGACY. II. THE LABOUR PARTY, PLANNING AND GROWTH. III. INTERESTS,CONFLICT AND THE PARTY OF PROGRESS. IV. WILSON, HEATH AND BENN REMAKE THE LABOUR PARTY. V. THE OVERWHELMING BURDEN OF OFFICE, 1974-79. VI. DEFEAT, DIVISIONS AND DEFECTIONS, 1979-1983. VII. LABOUR IN THE SHADOW OF THATCHER, 1983-1987. VIII. ‘MODERNISE' AND LOSE 1987-1992. IX. THE FITFUL PROGRESS OF ‘NEW LABOUR’. X. ‘NEW LABOUR'S' MOMENT. XI. THE NEW LABOUR PROJECT IN PRACTICE. Postscript: Bournemouth 2003.
‘New Labour's Pasts is a major contribution to the history of 'new' Labour. Cronin's fine historical research and his well honed historical sensibility are deployed here to excellent effect. He provides an excellent account of the internal history of the Labour Party from the mid sixties as it struggled against the Thatcherite presence in national politics and the internecine struggles within its own ranks. He shows how it was those unhappy experiences forged the programs of 'new' Labour and steeled the determination of those like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to bring it to political victory. This book is a must read for anyone interested in contemporary British politics.’
Richard Price, University of Maryland, USA
'lucid, illuminating and well researched....persuasive chronological analysis of Labour since 1945'
The Political Quarterly