Rudd-Gillard and the end of old New Labor

How are we to explain Australian Labor’s woes? Some hints in an examination of British New Labour’s economic record by Duncan Weldon. He highlights how Labour’s model was unsustainable: Remember the campaign posters in 2005? How the issue of the economy was dealt with? A near endless repetition of macroeconomic statistics – the longest period […]

Labor’s problem is not the Greens

With British Labour performing better than most would have expected this early into the term of the Conservative government partisans of Tony Blair’s legacy, excluded from the current leadership group, resemble voices in the wilderness calling Labour’s long-term prospects into question. Still some of their arguments have relevance for Australian Labor. 

British lessons for Labor

Some interesting observations from The Independent’s Steve Richards on British Labour’s excessive caution and centralisation of leadership.  that seem very relevant to the ALP. First referring to hopeful suggestions from the new British government about prison reform as part of a general evaluation of New Labour’s  ‘reformism’:

Barack Obama & Jim Scullin

It is true that the Massachusetts debacle exaggerates the Democrats woes, just as NY-23 obscured them. But Barack Obama might remember the example of the Scullin government. Jim Scullin who led Australian Labor to a landslide victory in 1929 was a nice guy (who shocked senior bureaucrats by asking them to call him ‘Jim’), and […]

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 […]

Ghosts of John Elliott and Katherine West

Malcolm Turnbull’s basic problem is that like John Howard Mark I he is out of step with his own party. Howard won the Liberal leadership in 1985 due to missteps by Andrew Peacock rather than any strong base of support. Turnbull, once Peter Costello was gone, was the only credible candidate once Brendan Nelson fell […]

Social democratic decomposition

Gosta Esping-Andersen developed the concept of ‘social democratic decomposition’. Inspired by the differential success of the anti-tax populist right in Scandinavia in the 1970s he argued that the policies of a social democratic party in government could impact not only on its day to day popularity but more fundamentally on the party’s social base. Adam […]