Brand ‘New’ Labour?

  • Dominic Wring


Tony Blair’s rebranding of his party began with his proposed rewriting of Clause Four and the launch of ‘new’ Labour at the 1994 Annual Conference. Thus was a diverse, complex past simultaneously and erroneously dismissed as ‘old’. Blair’s casual ahistoricism did not prevent the revised name gaining wide currency. Yet the concept, like the scale of change, was not that novel.1 In 1989 MP Giles Radice had written about the ‘new Labour party’ in defending the Kinnock reform strategy whilst Shadow Communications Agency (SCA) co-ordinator Philip Gould had used the term in a private memo. Dennis Kavanagh usefully summarised the thrust of this analysis:

Perhaps the key distinction is less between left and right than between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ Labour Party. ‘Old’ Labour is associated — negatively for much of the public — with manufacturing industry, union power, inner cities, council housing and in general with the declining forces in Britain. It is on the new issues, such as the environment, training, citizenship and women’s rights — as well as public services — which centre left parties elsewhere have scored.2


Prime Minister Asylum Seeker Labour Party Policy Entrepreneur Direct Taxis 
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Copyright information

© Dominic Wring 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dominic Wring
    • 1
  1. 1.Loughborough UniversityUK

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