We see them as Britain’s traditional left wing socialist party, fighting for the working class man and supporting the whole of society. Although Labour started out with left wing socialist intentions, do they still hold the same principals in today’s political climate?
Old Labour, the traditional socialist representation of the labour party, presented many socialist views, such as welfare and social justice. They also opposed such views as a free-market economy, much preferring to regulate and set quotas for it. Old Labour was the standing of the Labour Party since their founding in the early 20th century. Since then, the party has undertaken a radical change, through the conception of Neil Kinnock and the branding of Tony Blair, to become the centre-left party that we’ve come to know as New
Labour, concentrating on making practical decisions that influence the UK, as oppose to
Old Labour who were ideological, and looked at the best ways in which to manage society and react to current events. A famous quote, used by ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997 was “We were elected as New Labour, and we will govern as New Labour”. This signified the change in how the Labour Party acted.
As a party formed for the working class people of Britain, Old Labour actively sough to attract the lower skilled, lower income members of society. The party designed and implemented its policies so that they would please and benefit the working class of Britain.
Old Labour saw the working class people of Britain as the most needing of support and benefit, and those who would benefit the most from it. The Old Labour party were less interested in attracting and supporting middle class members of society, and as a result of this their policies were not focused around actively benefitting any other class than the working class.
In contrast to the Old Labour’s aim to attract the working class, new Labour spread their attraction through society, seeking to attract higher-class supporters in order to gain popularity. The party uses a combination of policies aimed at pleasing all their supporters, such as the change in the welfare system and the introduction of the minimum wage. In
1999, Labour introduced a minimum wage of £3.60 per hour for adults. This is an example of Labour Party’s aims to benefit one area of society, without negatively impacting another in the process. In order to seek support from a broader audience, New Labour abandoned
Clause 4 of the constitution. The abandonment of Claus 4 meant that the Labour Party no longer conformed to the traditional Ideology of Old Labour.
Under the ruling of Old Labour, the economy was regulated in order to ensure economic justice for the people of Britain. The government would intervene to prevent decisions from being made that would have an adverse effect on the economy and affect a lot of people, particularly the working class who are more vulnerable to economic changes. When New
Labour took over, they sough to change how the economy was governed, and instead moved more towards the idea of a market economy, in which the economy decides its own outcome through a free price system. This approach allows the economy to develop on its own, and not be under the pressure or limitation from Government management. Although
New Labour introduced a market economy, they’re still sometimes required to intervene.
Another economic issue that revolved around the Labour party is their views on welfare.
Old Labour had a tradition, socialist view on welfare that included all members of society in the benefit