The Legacy

  • David Coates


When the dust had settled from the general election of 1997, it was possible for the very first time in modern British electoral history — or at least it was possible if you picked your route with care — to drive from Land’s End to John O’Groats without passing through a single constituency held by a Conservative MP, bar one. When all the election results were in, the one unavoidable blot of blue on your otherwise pink road map was an isolated Tory stronghold in the Yorkshire Dales. The isolation of that Ryedale constituency stood as stark testimony to the scale of the cull of Conservative MPs effected by the UK electorate in May 1997. Never since 1836 had the UK’s traditional governing party been so decimated and discarded. Never since 1945 had a Labour government come to power amid such excitement and with such promise. ‘Dilute that excitement with whatever doses of scepticism you feel appropriate’, Andrew Rawnsley told us as the results came tumbling in, and yet there was still ‘no question that on Friday morning Britain woke up a different country. It may be a trick of the light,’ he wrote, ‘but it feels like a younger country.’1


House Price Labour Government Labour Party Manufacturing Base Social Legacy 
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Copyright information

© David Coates 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Coates
    • 1
  1. 1.Wake Forest UniversityUSA

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