Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
New Labour is an alternative name of the British political Labour Party. The name is primarily used by the party itself in its literature but is also sometimes used by political commentators and the wider media. The rise of the name coincided with a shift towards the centre (from the left) of the British political spectrum.
The name originates from a conference slogan first used by the Labour Party in 1994 and was later seen in a draft manifesto, published by the party in 1996, called New Labour, New Life For Britain. However the term was intended to incorporate a wider rebranding of the party in the eyes of the electorate. The new name coincided with the re-writing of Clause IV of the party's constitution in 1995. Peter Mandelson was a senior figure in this process who exercised a great deal of authority in the party following the death of John Smith and subsequent election of Tony Blair as party leader.
New Labour is often characterised as a belief in 'rights and duties', i.e. that a citizen should recognise that s/he possesses responsiblities linked with any legal rights they hold. Also, the belief of a 'stakeholder society' is prominent in New Labour thinking.
The name change coincided with a dramatic revival of the party's fortunes. Unexpectedly defeated for a fourth consecutive time in the 1992 election, the party won the 1997 election with a majority of 179. Following a period of government and in particular after a second election victory in 2001, the name has diminished in significance in British political life. (The Labour Party generally being referred to in the media as 'the Government' rather than 'new Labour'.) However the name is still used in party literature.
The name has been widely satirised. Critics associate the new name with an unprecedented use of 'spin doctoring' in the party's relationship with media. The Conservative Party attempted to tarnish the new Labour tag during the 1997 election campaign using the slogan 'New Labour, New Danger'.
Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell are most commonly cited as the creators and architects of the New Labour ethos but its intellectual underpinnigs were originally developed by Marxism Today under the editorship of Martin Jacques.
See also Nick Cohen
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