New Labour – The Progressive Future, by Stuart White

(Palgrave, 2001), ISBN 0-333-91565-8 Order this book

If sense is to be made of the distinction between parties that seek to maintain the political status quo and those that move the agenda forward, independently of market forces, then clarification is needed. The future and coherence of ‘progressive’ politics is examined within this series of lectures, with particular emphasis on education and the progress made towards genuine social justice.
The real strength of this book is the wealth of context that the contributors bring to the current situation. New Labour’s agenda is analysed within a historical and philosophical framework that includes insightful comparisons from the original founding of the Labour Party through to the present-day Netherlands.
The three parts to the book deal with ‘The Ideology of New Labour’; ‘New Labour in Government’; and ‘Comparative Perspectives’. At the end of the book the reader will have a clear sense of the ideological development behind the party, how that ideology has reacted to the demands (and limitations) of power and a sense of how other political parties within other countries have mirrored (or are perhaps preceding) its development within the UK.
In their concluding essay, Stuart White and Susan Giaimo reflect on how the periodic tensions that occur between market forces and progressive politics can be managed, and what that management is likely to require.
Duncan Burbidge