Britain: Recycling the Third Way

Britain: Recycling the Third Way

In britain, the intellectual credibility of the third way is at its lowest ebb since the election of May 1997. Many commentators now declare that reality is catching up with a flawed idea. Harsher critics dismiss the suggestion that there was ever an idea for reality to catch up with. In their view, the third way was never more than a screen or fig leaf for the Labour Party’s abandonment of its traditional values and policies. This is the view of the so-called Labour “hard left,” including Members of Parliament Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner. Even the more moderate left appears to think that the third way was only a matter of Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson ostentatiously reassuring “middle England” that taxes would not rise, that the trade unions would never again rise up in revolt, and that after eighteen years of Margaret Thatcher they could safely vote Labour. It is therefore widely believed that with the sudden departure of Peter Mandelson the third way has collapsed. Mandelson, was widely credited with using his skills as a spin doctor to ensure Blair’s hold on his Party and his Party’s hold on the electorate. Few people noticed that he was an efficient Minister for Trade and Industry, too, whose major offense was wanting a nice house and having a friend who would buy it for him. That is to say, the alliance of Blair and Mandelson has collapsed, and with it the public relations exercise that got Labour into power in May 1997.

...

Lima