Five years Labour

In 1997, New Labour seized the centre ground with its marriage of Thatcherism and social democracy. How does the Blair-Brown duopoly measure up in practice? Will New Labour dominate the 21st century?

By Robert Skidelsky   74

Everyone expected Labour to win in 1997, though not by such a large margin. An identically big victory in 2001, pointing to three or even four consecutive terms of office, suggests that a watershed has occurred in British politics, with Labour poised to take command of the 21st century as the Conservatives did of the 20th. But after five years in power, New Labour remains an elusive political force.

It is true but trite to say that Labour has benefited from a feeble opposition; true, because under Hague the Conservatives were deeply unpopular and under Iain Duncan Smith have remained…

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