Labour’s New Labour legacy: politics after Brown and Blair

Heffernan, Richard (2011). Labour’s New Labour legacy: politics after Brown and Blair. Political Studies Review, 9(2) pp. 163–177.



The broad consequences of New Labour were that it won Labour three elections and put the party in government for thirteen years. Its most immediate legacies are twofold: first, the faltering economy and the sovereign debt crisis bequeathed to its successor; second, the electoral, ideational and organisational problems Labour itself has to face. The Blair and Brown governments never radically reformed the Thatcherite economic settlement but were, in time, incrementally to rework the economic policy they inherited. Change amid continuity was present in Labour's use of the proceeds of market-driven economic growth to radically increase investment in the public services and expand the welfare state. New Labour, in the wider political context, partially reformed the institutional environment in which politics is enacted; it played some part in helping the Conservative party educate itself on social questions; and helped alter the form and function of the modern political party. Closer to home, New Labour changed the Labour party forever.

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