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Is New Labour Still Socialist

Is New Labour Still Socialist



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Published by Jonny

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Published by: Jonny on May 31, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Is New Labou r Still Socialist?
The definition of socialism is ‘An economic, social and political doctrine whichexpresses the struggle for the equal distribution of wealth by eliminating private propertyand the exploitative ruling class’.In some ways I believe that ‘New Labour’ is still socialist, but not to the same extent aswhen the party was first established. For example, the original rules and traditions set bythe original ‘Old Labourare somewhat non-existent in new labours ideas and beliefs.There are many examples of how new labour have differed from old labours policies,however there are also many similarities between the two ages of the Labour Party.For example, New labours idea of a minimum wage very much bares a socialist style of view, as this is seen as fair, equal and is a redistribution of income. The old Labour partyvery much believed in the redistribution of wealth, as this was seen as helping out the lessfortunate people of Britain, this counters my belief that New Labour have ‘stranded’away from the old labour policies. New Labour is broadly pro-Europe, and wants to lead the country to become moreinvolved in the EU. However, the old labour view is that the EU doesn’t have the samevalues as Britain. This is a prime example of how new labour have strayed away from oldlabour and are becoming less socialist as a result of this, because these views are radicallydifferent from each other, showing that new labour may have differed from old labour views.In light of this, new labour still share many of the same ideas that old labour once believed. For example, old labour believed that everyone in the country should work together and should forget about social classes, and new labour believes that poverty gapsshould be smaller, and classes should work together. Also, new and old labours both believe in public expenditure on a large scale. This is to give the nation equalopportunities and the best possible standards of living, arguing the point of new labour still being a socialist party. Old labour believed that taxation should be high on the rich people of the country, as they have more money to give to the country to benefit the lessaffluent citizens of Britain. New labour believes in low taxation, however stealth taxesare used to also benefit the country. This shows that both eras of the party believed intaxation benefiting the less ‘fortunate’ members of the country.Another reason to believe that labour has become less socialist is the different views onnationalisation. Old labour believed that big companies, like the railway, the telephone,and electricity firms are owned by the country as a whole instead of privately by businessmen. Whereas new Labour share the view that the idea of Private FinanceInitiatives (PFI), they welcome private funds into national institutions such as hospitalsand schools etc. New Labour is seen to be ‘expanding’ on old Labours views and adjusting them to fit inwith Britain’s social aspects. For example, old Labour believed in free education from 5-18 years however now new Labour want 3-4 year olds to have free nursery education,something that wasn’t about with old Labour. Old Labour morals disagree with the ideaof entrenched privileges toward education, as the state should create conditions that willgive maximum opportunity to all sections of society. Whereas new Labour does not have
a problem with public schools, they have the view that if people are prepared to spendmore money on giving their children more benefits then so be it.When old Labour first became a political party, they were to represent the working class people of the country, which were linked to trade unions. The unions had realized that theliberals and conservatives would not represent them, so they looked to Labour torepresent skilled workers. The Labour party established a wide range of trade unions,socialists, Christians, Fabians and Marxists, this provided key amounts of support for thethen liberal party. The common old Labour views consisted of, forgetting class, whichmeant that the country should work together to earn the best way of living for everyone.Old Labour believed that the working class should have their own say, which was to benon-violent. The idea of collectivism was a view shared by old Labour, which means towork as a group rather than as individuals, which links to the view of forgetting class.Old Labour have the idea that free enterprise (An economic system characterized by private ownership of property and productive resources, the profit motive to stimulate production, competition to ensure efficiency, and the forces of supply and demand todirect the production and distribution of goods and services.) will do nothing good for theworking class, however new Labour believe that free enterprise is a good idea as theworkers will benefit massively from this. New Labour still have many socialist views such as the idea of the UK being fairer andmore prosperous than it was a decade ago, and it having the highest employment rate inthe G7, and also that the government lifted 600,000 children out of poverty in 2007. Thisshows that the New Labour government is still keeping in mind the working class peopleof Britain, showing us that Labour still share some socialist views.However, New Labour has been accused of being far too right wing on some policies. For example, in December 1997, 47 Labour MPs rebelled when the government carriedthrough the previous administration's plans to cut the benefits paid to new single-parents.Tuition fees for university students were also introduced with no debate within theLabour Party itself. The government also promoted wider use of Public PrivatePartnershipsand thePrivate Finance Initiative, which were opposed particularly by trade unions as a form of  privatisation. Another example of Labour appearing too right wing isthat the New Labour government has been closer to corporate business interests than any previous Labour government. This idea was opposed by old Labour views, anddramatically shows how different new Labour is now from when the party first startedout.Since 1997 Labour's economic policies have sought to take a middle way between themore centralisedsocialistapproach of past Labour governments and thefree market  approach of the Conservative government from 1979 to 1997. One of the most popular  policies introduced was Britain's first National Minimum Wage Act. This act was amassive revelation, and shows us that Labour still shares a socialist way of thinking, evenin this modern day and age.One Labour policy that bares in mind the idea of socialism is the country’s ‘war onterror’. The Party has sought to put the promotion of human rights and democracy at thecore of British foreign policy. Blair decided to send British troops to fight alongside theUnited States and a number of forces in smaller numbers from around the world in the2003 invasion of Iraq. Labour went against the majority view of the country, as they sentUK troops into the Middle East. This may show that socialism is no more at the heart of 

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