Mind the gap

New Labour does not have a convincing story to tell about the left's most important value-equality. In practice its "third way" approach means trying to improve conditions for the worst off but otherwise accepting market outcomes. Does Tony Blair's idea of community require something more ambitious?

By Michael Prowse   48

New labour favours greater equality. It wants to create a society less unequal than that which it inherited from the Conservatives. But there is confusion both about how equality should be defined and about the kinds of inequality which can feasibly be reduced in a world characterised by global capitalism and rapid technological change. An open and honest debate about the nature of social justice and equality has become unavoidable if New Labour is to have any prospect of devising a “third way” which transcends the limitations of both old-style social democracy and market liberalism.

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