Conclusion: The AES, New Times and the Death of British Socialism
If Labour’s increased proximity to ‘class politics’ in the 1970s was associated with an economic need to moderate the wage claims of an emboldened workforce via closer union-government co-operation, by the 1980s the viability of this approach was called into question. A powerful new ideology of ‘Thatcherism’ was seen to have emerged, necessitating a fundamentally adjusted type of left-wing strategy. While New Labour did represent an outlook distinct from the social-democratic tradition to which the Alternative Economic Strategy belonged, its ideological ‘realignment’ did not emerge in a vacuum but, to an extent, out of the ideological shifts already established by the AES. Contrary to the academic view that the AES stands out as a markedly radical strategy in between 1950s revisionism and the ‘modernisations’ of Kinnock and Blair, in some ways the AES provided a bridge between ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Labour.