Politics Old and New Labour Essay

The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom, and one of the two main British political parties along with the Conservative Party. Old labour were a socialist party, Old Labour, the traditional socialist representation of the labour party, presented many socialist views, these included the cradle-to-grave care, welfare and social justice. They also opposed views such as a free-market economy. Old Labour was the standing of the Labour Party since their founding in the early 20th century.

Since then, the party has undertaken a radical change, through the conception of Neil Kinnock and the branding of Tony Blair, to become the centre-left party that is know as New Labour. New Labour govern with a pragmatic stance, concentrating on making practical decisions that influence the UK, as oppose to Old Labour who were ideological, and looked at the best ways in which to manage society and react to current events. Tony Blair said in 1997 “We were elected as New Labour, and we will govern as New Labour”.

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This signified the change in how the Labour Party acted. hereas the theory of communism stipulates that the “state” will after time eradicate socialism and Old Labour believes that the state is a necessity within the system of government. They believed in a significant reduction in economic equality through progressive taxation, state ownership, unemployment as a far greater evil than inflation, an intimate link with the unions, constitutional change as relatively unimportant. Tony Blair christened ‘New Labour’ with the political doctrine of the third way, this involves a compromise between social democracy and classical liberalism, ultimately combining the two political ideas.

It favors a private mix in industry. New labour believes in equality of opportunity regardless of the outcome, that on balance, inflation is a greater evil that unemployment, they also believe that unions should be kept at an arms length, business interests should be courted and that that constitutional change is important. As a party formed for the working class people of Britain, Old Labour thought to attract the lower skilled and lower income members of society. The party was designed so its policies would please and benefit the working class of Britain.

Old Labour saw the working class people of Britain as the most needing of support and benefit, and those who would benefit the most from it. The Old Labour party were less interested in attracting and supporting middle class members of society, and as a result of this their policies were not focused around actively benefitting any other class than the working class. When New Labour took over, they said they would change how the economy was governed, and instead moved more towards the idea of a market economy, in which the economy decides its own outcome through a free price system.

This approach allows the economy to develop on its own, and not be under the pressure or limitation from Government management. Although New Labour introduced a market economy, they’re still sometimes required to intervene. An example of an intervention would be when the government nationalised Northern Rock in 2008 in order to protect the economic interests of the people. ( recent acts of labour there! :P) Another economic issue that revolved around the Labour party is their views on welfare. Old Labour had a traditional socialist view on welfare that included all members of society in the benefit scheme.

They used universal benefits such as the child benefits, which is available to all people looking after children under the age of 16, or those with children who are still in full time education. Allowing society to universally benefit from the welfare system is supportive, but in some cases results in unnecessary spending on those that do not require the welfare. Old Labour also had a strong opinion on cradle-to-grave welfare, in which welfare is given to people throughout their lives. New Labour altered the welfare system of the labour party.

They introduced targeted benefits which would only be given to those that need them the most to avoid carelessly handing out welfare when it is not needed. New Labour also introduced “welfare-to-work” in which they are attempting to decrease the number of people receiving employment support allowance. Those currently seeking employment are given a jobseekers allowance, and those who are unable to work due to physical or psychological reasons are supported by society and given an employment support allowance.

Through the change from Old Labour to New Labour, a constitutional reform of the Labour party was set about. This included the removal of Clause IV of the constitution. New Labour also aims to promote Britain as a young, vibrant society with their reform. In conclusion, Labour is actively moving from its traditional left wing socialist view, we can also see that Labour has adopted many Conservative views with their reform, combining the usage of both left and right wing policies is known as Third Way, or centre.

Third way can clearly be seen in the change of the Labour Party from Old Labour to New Labour. Although a whole change is certainly indefinite, we can see that many aspects of the Labour party have changed, from the target attraction to their views on welfare and the economy. Overall labour no longer aims to help the working class and is now a universal audience and has become a lot like the conservatives