Campaigning in Poetry, Governing in Prose

David Coates
Content Type
Working Paper
Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
New Labour's performance in office–as an orchestrator of economic and social change–is situated against, and evaluated by reference to, two sets of legacies: legacies inherited from the years of Conservative political dominance after 1979; and legacies brought to power by New Labour. The paper argues that the first se t of legacies was deep and enduring, and threw a long shadow forward. It argues that the second set of legacies were highly coherent and intellectually informed, but cumulatively involved a diminution in the capacity of the state. The result has been a two-term government that is sufficiently superficially successful to win a third term; but which has yet seriously to transform the legacies it inherited: to our misfortune, and ultimately–in electoral terms–also probably to its own. This paper is based on my study of New Labour's domestic policy–Prolonged Labour: The Slow Birth of New Labour Britain; I have also co-authored a study of New Labour's policy towards Iraq–Blair's War–which was published by Polity Press in 2004.
Civil Society, Economics, Politics
Political Geography