The New Labour Party Presentation: Alex, Christina, Henry, Harley, Josh, Nicole P
Outline: History of the Labour Party Economics Tony Blair & Gordon Brown Domestic Policy Foreign Policy
What is the Labour Party? • The Labour Party is a political group formed during the late 19th century that leaned more towards Democratic Socialism • Founded in 1893: Represents the Common Worker • Has been one of the two major political parties within modern Britain’s government. In the 1920’s it was firmly established as the left party of the working class, surpassing in popularity the Liberal part. • Since the Labour party was founded through the ideals of the trade unions and socialist movement. They support public ownership of key industries, government intervention in the economy, redistribution of wealth, increased rights for workers and trade unions, and the belief in the welfare state and publicly funded healthcare and education. • The Labour party has established itself as the dominant political force in Britain • 1997: when labour won a majority of 179 seats within parliament led by Prime Minister Tony Blair.
What is the New Labour Party? • Introduced in 1994: • Same Political Party => More Central • Goals: • To attract conservatives • To embrace the shift in European social democracy • (towards the right)
Role of the Media & Its Criticism • The Name of the “New Labour” has been • widely satirized…
Economic Initiatives • Seeking to end PFI (Private Finance Initiative) • To continue the monopolistic post office, and bail out failing branches • Start programs to lower the price of mortgages, so every Briton can own a home. • In support of a higher minimum wage by means of the Low Pay Commission (a raise to above £ 5.35) • Creation of JobCentre Plus in tandem with the “welfare state” have dramatically cut unemployment
International trade • Reformation in agricultural trade with poorer nations • Elimination of debt owed by poorest nations • Support of the UN ratification on corruption • Adoption of ending unconditional aid for nations that show interest in growth • Supports WTO plans of opening developing countries to the international market.
Domestic Economy • Investing over £ 200 billion into domestic rail and road • Goal of 2.5 % inflation over the next 5 years • Pladge to keep VAT off of food, clothes books and transit fares. • R &D Tax credit linked with streamlining patent system. • A £ 1 billion tax incentive for new business creation • Reformation of Common Agricultural Policy to allow farmers to produce what they think is needed and not the government • Implementation of tax credits and higher minimum wage to ensure employment is beneficial to all • Introduction of “Welfare to Work” programs • Domestic growth has been stabilized between 2 and 3 % annually
On May 1953 Anthony Blair was born in Edinburgh, Scotland but grew up in Durham England. • Blair studied at Fettes College in Durham, England and at Oxford University for law. • In 1976 Tony Blair began his career as a lawyer but in June 1983 was appointed to House of Commons where he was a member of the Durham constituency of Sedgefield. • In 1992 was given the title Shadow Home Security by Labour Party leader John Smith. • July 21, 1994, after the death of John Smith, Blair became Labour Party leader with a majority win of 57% votes.
Tony Blair held many other positions in Parliament including First Lord of Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. • On May 7th 1997. Blair took on his most prestigious role as Prime minister of the United Kingdom . • At 43, he was the youngest Prime minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812 and won three consecutive terms in office (1997, 2001,2005) • Under Tony Blair’s rule, the ideology “New Labour” was introduced. This was a new approach to modernize the economy by finding a middle ground between traditional socialism and free market economy. • Tony Blair was also in favor of a less centralized government and granted power to individual Prime Minister while intervening for general matters. “I am a socialist not through reading a textbook that has caught my intellectual fancy, nor through unthinking tradition, but because I believe that, at its best, socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral. It stands for cooperation, not confrontation; for fellowship, not fear. It stands for equality”
Tony Blair’s accomplishments include: • Decentralizing government and granting self-governing powers to the Scottish Parliament (its first election was in 1998) and the National Assembly of Wales (its first session began May 6 1999). • Establishing minimum wage under the National Minimum Wage Act of 1998, which 1.5 million people have benefited from. • Passing the controversial Higher Education Tuition Fees bill in 2006, for all students apart of the European Union attending school in the UK. • The most contentious decision Blair made was to aid the United States in the War on Terror in 2002.
In April of 2002, Tony Blair met with George Bush to discuss plans for invading Iraq. Bush, certain that there were weapons of mass destruction, convinced Blair to suppose the US in war. When David Kelley, weapon’s inspector uncovered that The US lied about the weapons being hidden in Iraq, Blair popularity started to decline.
Political History • 1983 • He became a Member of Parliament for Dunfermline East and Chair of Labor Party With Tony Blair in the House of Commons. • Two years later he became the opposition spokesman (Shadow Cabinet) on Trade and Industry. • In 1992 he was elected Chancellor of the Shadow Cabinet. • 1997: • Blair elected leader of the Labor Party • Blair was elected Prime Minister and served 3 more terms in his 1997, 2001, and 2005 elections. During this time, Brown served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, a title held by the British Cabinet Minister responsible for all economic and financial matters (similar to the American Secretary of Treasury).
As Chancellor… • Brown gave the Bank of England (much like the American Federal Reserve) operational independence in monetary policy, and thus responsibility for setting interest rates. This was done in the hopes of promoting economic growth and stability, a staple for the Labor Party. • Over his Chancellorship, he reduced the starting rate of income tax from 20% to 10% in 1999 before abolishing the starting rate in 2007 • Reduced the basic rate from 23% to 20% However… Brown increased the tax thresholds in line with inflation, rather than earnings, resulting in fiscal drag. Corporation tax fell under Brown, from a main rate of 33% to 28%, and from 24% to 19% for small businesses.
UK economic growth averaged 2.7% between 1997 and 2006, higher than the Eurozone's 2.1%, though lower than in any other English-speaking country. UK unemployment was 5.5%, down from 7% in 1997 and lower than the Eurozone's average of 8.1%. • Brown used telecom radio frequency auctions and gathered £22.5 billion for the government. By using a system of sealed bids and only selling a restricted number of licenses, they got high prices from the telecom operators. This caused a severe recession in the European telecoms development industry (2001 Telecoms crash) with the loss of 100,000 jobs across Europe, 30,000 of those in the UK. • Longest period of sustained growth in the history of the U.K. • The Conservatives had accused Brown of imposing "stealth taxes". A commonly reported example resulted in 1997 from a technical change in the way corporation tax is collected, the indirect effect of which was for the dividends on stock investments held within pensions to be taxed, thus lowering pension returns and contributing to the demise of some pension funds. Brown contended that this tax change was crucial to long-term economic growth.
Domestic Policy • Overview – New Labour’s Domestic Policies 1997-2007 • 1997: Promised “to give Britain a different political choice” => “New Labour” • The “Labour Party Manifesto” of 1997 said that New Labour rejected the old approaches of “the old left and those of the Conservative Right” - • The old Labour Party’s approach of “state control of industry,” and • The “Conservative Right” which was “content to leave all to the market.” • Unlike old Labor • Rejected the free market and allied with unions against industry • INSTEAD the New Labour government would “work with” industry at “enhancing the dynamism of the market, not undermining it”. • In 2007, after ten years in power and with Gordon Brown taking over from Tony Blair in June, the Labour Party still calls itself New Labour and says its policies are a middle way between the old left and the Conservatives’ laissez-faire policies. However, some writers say that Gordon Brown’s policies may be closer to old Labour’s than Blair’s have been.
New Labour’s Domestic Policy Areas 1997 – 2007 In 1997, New Labour promised reform and renewal in several major domestic policy areas, in addition to the economy, including Education, The National Health Service Crime, Strengthening the Family, the Environment and Political Reform. [As shown in the next slide, many of Labour’s proposals were very critical of the Conservative government’s record in these areas during its 18 years in power. Others – like being “tough on crime” – sounded like the Conservatives’ policies.] In 2007, Labour still promises improvement in many of the same areas, but the emphasis has changed. Labour claims that it has been successful in many of these areas and includes more modern ideas for reform. It has also added policies on immigration.
1997 – Specific Domestic Policy Proposals • In 1997, New Labour’s Manifesto announced its new policies in each of the major areas • Education – It said that education was New Labour’s “number one priority.” It would spend more on education, give four-year olds a free nursery education, and make schools compete to raise standards. • The National Health Service – New Labour would “save the NHS”, which it said “we founded” but the Conservatives had ruined by making hospitals compete for contracts in an “internal market” that “strangled” NHS in “red tape” and bureaucracy. • Crime – New Labour would be “tough on crime and the causes of crime”, • Building strong families - This would be done “through a modern welfare state in pensions and community care.” • The Environment – Every government department would be responsible for safeguarding the environment • Political reform – New Labour would reform the House of Lords, ending hereditary peers, “devolve power” on assemblies in Scotland and Wales and work on the peace process in Northern Ireland.
2007 Domestic Policy Proposals • After 10 years, the Labour government has been very successful in some of the policy areas, and not so successful in others. • Education – According to Labour’s website, Labour has given “virtually all” 4-year olds and 96% of 3 year olds a free nursery education.. Labour’s emphasis now is on having at last half of all people under 30 go to college. • The National Health Service - Labour abolished the “internal market” and says that service improved tremendously. In 2007, Labour takes a different approach from the 1997 policy – It says that people have to improve their “lifestyle choices” and cut down “alcohol abuse, binge drinking, an unhealthy diet and smoking.” This probably to save costs for NHS – just as the Conservatives would do. • Crime – As he left office Tony Blair said that Labour was tough on crime, but also wanted to protect people against discrimination and punishment for different lifestyles.. • Building strong families – Labour has increased maternity leave and flexible working hours, and gives every employee a pension. • The Environment - Labour is about to pass a new “Climate Change Law” that will reduce carbon emissions by 60% by 2050. • Political Reform - Tony Blair was only partly successful in reforming the House of Lords – there are still some hereditary peers – and in devolving power to Scotland and Wales. In a popular move, Gordon Brown is proposing to give major powers to Parliament – including real power to decide whether to send troops into battle. • Immigration - Labour adopted a tough immigration policy – probably reflecting the war on terror. In 1997 it said the policies need to be fair, but in 2007 it had gotten restrictive and said only people who benefit Britain will be allowed in.
Global Influence Since its rise to power in 1997 the labour party has established the Department of International Development (DFID) which gives 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) in aid spending. “Labour is committed to the defense and security of the British people and to co-operating in European institutions, the United Nations, the Commonwealth and other international bodies to secure peace, freedom, democracy, economic security and environmental protection for all.” This is a central clause within the constitution of the Labour party which shows their devotion to tackling global poverty. The labour party in terms of immigration believes that managed migration is good for Britain; however, it needs to be managed in order for the economic benefits to occur.
Works Cited Joel Krieger. “Britain.” Chapter 2 in Comparative Government and Politics. Ed. Mark Kesselman. Jonathan Freedland. “Who is Gordon Brown.” The New York Review of Books. October 25, 2007. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20703 Tony Blair. “What I’ve Learned.” Economist.com. May 31, 2007. http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9257593 “The perils of imprudence.” Economist.com. October 11, 2007. http://www.economist.com/world/britain/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9949811 “Labour in Government” (Labour Party website). http://www.labour.org.uk Labour Party Manifesto, General Election 1997, “New Labour because Britain deserves better.” http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/area/uk/man/lab97.htm http://www.wdm.org.uk/news/archive/2005/lpc05http://image.guardian.co.uk/sysfiles/Politics/documents/2005/04/13/labourmanifesto.pdf.htm http://www.labourpolicywatch.co.uk/trade.html http://www.labour-party.org.uk/manifestos/2001/2001-labour-manifesto.shtmlhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/vote2001/hi/english/newsid_1377000/1377786.stm http://www.freewebs.com/mulctuarymoneymanagement/bank-of-england.jpghttp://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/757/223676.JPG http://www1.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/934094/2/istockphoto_934094_five_shilling_coin.jp