To what extent is the Labour party still committed to its traditional principles?

Authors Avatar by patrickctucker (student)

To what extent is the Labour party still committed to its traditional principles?

The Labour party, traditionally, are a promoter of social democracy; a form of socialism which aims to reform the capitalist society to reduce inequality and promote social justice. These values could be seen in the Labour party in the old Clause IV which supported equality, redistribution of wealth, social justice, nationalisation, full employment and welfare for all; this clause was amended by Blair in 1995—thus marking the beginning of “New Labour”.

The means of upholding these values were through a mixed economy—a free market with heavy interest in the public sector, with financial support for the hospital and school systems as well as other public sector industries. A Keynesian demand management to support employment and the redistribution of wealth—through the welfare system—was also a key method of promoting its values. One of the first acts of New Labour was to amend the old Clause IV of the party’s constitution to remove the commitment to common ownership; this marked the end of the old style of social democracy. It was replaced by commitments to the free market, environment, the end of discrimination and equality of opportunity for all. Blair claimed that this was a new understanding of social democracy—that New Labour were still committed to the socialist policies such as social justice, despite abandoning common ownership. It can be seen, therefore, that New Labour are not as committed to the party’s traditional principles, branching away from one of the largest policies that the party held—and introducing new principles for the party to focus on, taking focus away from the traditional ones.

Join now!

New Labour is not as committed to an equal redistribution of wealth—whereas the previous Labour party approaches were—however, a main concern for them is ensuring equality of opportunity. New Labour has tried to achieve this aim through the New Deal youth employment programme—designed to help those in the poorest sections of society, who may not had an equal chance to achieve their potential.

In the case of redistribution of wealth, New Labour has branched away from its focus of ensuring equality, but instead using the welfare state to facilitate entry back into the job market—with improved education and health care ...

This is a preview of the whole essay