• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To What extent was 'New Labour' a continuation of Thatcherism?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To What extent was 'New Labour' a continuation of Thatcherism In 1997 the Labour Party fought the General Election with a fresh approach. Their latest leader, Tony Blair, came with a reformed party, known as 'New Labour'. Tony Blair was a pioneer of New Labour; "Policies and direction, appeal and cohesion, would simply disintegrate if Tony wasn't there"1 and from the start he was geared up to be the lead figure of the Labour Party. This gave the party a personality and naturally the media focused on that personality, likening him to a presidential character; "observers have been compelled to employ a term that is especially alien to the British system of government"2. There have been numerous connections made between Thatcherism and 'New Labour' (which is basically Blairism) and Blair's style has certainly brought a fresh approach to politics for the Labour party. From the start he aimed to use different methods in order to appeal to the public. He looked "to create a new approach, setting the national mood and policy agenda via the media, rather than through the conventional channels of Westminster politics"3. There is no doubt that Blair's style of running the Labour government was similar to that of Margaret Thatcher's in certain ways such as preferring to run business in a more centralised manner coupled with making decisions by means of things such as bilateral meetings instead of traditional Cabinet Government methods. ...read more.

Middle

as the need to be an international statesman and the media's focus on personalities rather than parties as a whole; "the media demand presidential leader and crucified John Major for not being presidential enough"8. Even though some could argue this was as a result of tactics by politicians such as Blair and Thatcher to exert more control, it is also important to remember that modern situations may prove to be easier to deal with when there is a strong and clear leader. There are people who believe that "Blair's efforts to reshape the British premiership have certainly been radical"9, so it is important to establish exactly how Blair intended to rule. Using his owns words; "people will have to know that we will run from the centre and govern from the centre"10. This involves using the Prime Minister's Office as the centre of the executive, (the PMs staff doubled in the first two years of his premiership). This can be seen as similar to how Thatcher organised her government, except he went a step further. "The biggest centralisation of power in Whitehall in peacetime"11. This points to a move towards a government that does not use the Cabinet in the way it was originally designed. "The idea that the heads of department have an independent standing has been torn up"12. Blair likes to use bilateral meetings to consult with the relevant minister on policy, much like Thatcher, but everything is run from No.10 "all the threads, all the leads, all come back to 10 Downing Street"13. ...read more.

Conclusion

The centralisation of the executive is probably going to be permanent because the election campaigns have been geared towards focusing on certain characters and this can be attributed, mostly, to Blair's style. It is also hard to imagine another prime minister changing this set up, although it is possible that the cabinet could be used more in the way it is supposed to be. All this can be seen as a continuation of Thatcherism and because it is done by different party to which Thatcher was affiliated, 'New Labour' have just inserted their principles and ideologies into the structural model of Thatcherism. In conclusion one can argue that New Labour has no connection and is definitely not a continuation of Thatcherism, but they would be wrong. There are clear structural similarities coupled with comparable methods in forming policies, however there are clear differences in the actual policy content and ideology of the two different parties. Most notably, in areas such as laissez-faire politics, individualism and privatisation. There were, however, certain similarities in regards to policies concerning the economy, with the need for a supple market couple with the spread of capitalism, but this can be connected to the idea that 'New Labour' were just continuing solid policies by the last government. It is also important to remember that there is no point in reversing or scraping policies, even by a different government because otherwise nothing would get done if everything had the potential to change every four years. Word Count: 1,451. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United Kingdom section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United Kingdom essays

  1. Government & Politics Revision Notes

    Its democratic as it allows political participation. Criticisms of the UK's Democracy > The Westminster voting system- The first past the post system used for elections to the House of Commons has been criticized for distorting electoral practices and creating a system of plurality rule in which governments win fewer than half of the votes cast.

  2. Unit 1 - Example of Evaluations

    If I were to produce this website again I would fill these spaces with images/advertisements or look to spread my text out more to make the most of this space. Another thing I would improve about this document if I were to produce it again would be to layout the

  1. Constitution and Politics

    * Except for elections there is nothing that forces the government to respect individual freedom and basic rights. * The Human Rights Act (1998) has gone some way to redress this but it stops well short of being an entrenched (fixed)

  2. adult education

    More emphasis on adult education came into force after the World War II in 1970s, including the Open University, which opened for students in 1971. Since the early 1980s there was a growing concern that the country needs to meet with the new skills.

  1. To what extent did Thatcherism actually exist?

    'Thatcherism' is, I believe, a useful term...No other modern Prime Minister has given his or her name to a particular constellation of policies and values. However it needs to be used with care. The wrong definition is 'whatever Margaret Thatcher herself at any time did or said'.

  2. What was Thatcherism and was it Successful?

    In many ways Privatisation succeeded in its goals, yet the traditional ideas of hard work and self reliance seemed eclipsed by the 'casino' mentality and waves of greed created by the sale of shares. As far as government taxation , borrowing and spending went Thatcher had mixed success in achieving her aims.

  1. Political parties and Ideas - Thatcherism

    Thatcherism needs a strong leader, who has a very strong attitude to implement their views. Thatcher?s followers were expected to agree with her, even her strategic placement of one nation Tories in important seats meant that she still had support from those who originally didn?t support her views.

  2. To what extent is New Labour a Continuation of Old Labour?

    This differed from Old Labour as it meant a reduction in state intervention. Additionally, New Labour aimed to reduce poverty rather than redistributing income - the former being a new idea while latter being an Old Labour policy. They looked to end the poverty trap in many ways, but mainly by introducing the minimum wage.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work