The Future of Socialism and New Labour: An Appraisal

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Recently, much controversy has been generated about what Tony Crosland would have made of New Labour. Critics and supporters of the Blair project alike have laid claim to Crosland's legacy. For some it is evidence of New Labour's integrity; for others it confirms the party's betrayal of social democratic values. An examination of the arguments in The Future of Socialism indicates that it is neither. In this article, I offer a new appraisal of that text that challenges the orthodox analysis of it. Most accounts present the volume as a theoretical and original statement, one seeking to align British socialism with Swedish social democracy. I argue that the volume does not offer this kind of original contribution to debates about socialism. It is neither primarily a theoretical volume nor one that breaks decisively with the insularity that has shaped the trajectory of British socialism. I maintain that the importance of Crosland's legacy is emotional and symbolic: it offers Labour a charismatic and reassuring image of the party's past.
Translated title of the contributionThe Future of Socialism and New Labour: An Appraisal
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224 - 240
Number of pages17
JournalPolitical Quarterly
Volume78 (2)
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Blackwell


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