1.5 cheers for New Labour



British Labour is certainly in dire electoral trouble and there will be many on the left pleased exercise a posthumous revenge on Tony Blair. Yet the Blair-brown administration despite its flaw was a labour government even if of a strongly right-wing stamp. It was to a degree inevitable that there would be a reaction to the right after the left’s ascendancy in the 1980s.
On income distribution Labour’s performance was as Lane Kenworthy (from whom I take this diagram) argues reasonable. Ironically this right-wing Labour government may have failed on financial management with a serious structural deficit problem. Should we be that surprised? it is true that the political left has its share of air-head populists to whom blathering on about ‘neo-liberalism’  is a substitute for serious analysis.  but they are less politically significant that the air-heads of the right of the centre-left to whom vacuous ‘third way’ rhetoric was substitute for hard thinking. While the fact that the left is best represented in social policy even under fairly right-wing Labo(u)r governments encourages egalitarian outcomes.


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