One of the most frequent charges made against ‘New’ Labour is that it abandoned the pursuit of equality. In contrast even to revisionist predecessors such as Hugh Gaitskell, Blair is said to want to create a society in which the reduction of inequality plays no obvious part (Brivati, 1996, 442–3). If the accusation were true this would mean ‘New’ Labour had turned its back not only on the party’s past, but also on contemporary European social democracy. Historically, Labour has aspired to advance the cause of equality: indeed, many commentators believe this has been the party’s pre-eminent purpose (Ellison, 1994). Moreover, according to the political philosopher Norberto Bobbio, the commitment to promote equality remains the principal distinguishing feature of all parties on the left (Bobbio, 1996).
KeywordsGross Domestic Product National Health Service Welfare State Labour Party Private Pension
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