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The Blair paradox

One year on, David Marquand is still perplexed by the Blair project. New Labour has not yet acquired a distinctive ideology but critics are wrong to see it as the continuation of Thatcherism by other means. The government combines economic continuity with radical political discontinuity

By David Marquand   May 1998

A year after new Labour’s landslide victory, the purpose, nature and significance of the famous Blair project are as mysterious as they were on that magic May morning when the last government was sent packing. We know what the new regime is not; we don’t yet know what it is. Patently, it is not socialist. It is not even social democratic or social liberal. It has abandoned the tradition once exemplified by such paladins of social democracy as Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, Ernest Bevin and Hugh Gaitskell. It has also turned its back on Keynes and Beveridge. Its contempt for…

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