Chapter 2: Thermostat or Weathervane? Public Reactions to Spending and Redistribution under New Labour
Thermostat or weathervane? Public reactions to spending and redistribution under new labour The domestic policy of the Labour government first elected in 1997 has been distinguished by two notable characteristics. The first is a marked shift to the right in its approach towards the market economy. Prior to gaining office Tony Blair persuaded his party to ditch Clause IV of its constitution, which committed the party to “the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange”. The party was also rebranded as ‘New Labour’, a designation intended to signify that the party had left its ‘socialist’ past behind it (Gould, 1998). Analysis of the content of the 1997 election manifesto indicated that never before in the post-war period had the party contested an election on so centrist a manifesto programme, an ideological stance that changed little at the time of the 2001 or 2005 elections (Budge, 1999; Bara ...