Labour Research June 2002


The rise of New Labour

Robin Ramsay, Pocket Essentials, 96 pages, paperback, £3.99

This booklet is an account of what the author calls "the American tendency in the Labour Party: from Hugh Gaitskell in the 1950s to the formation of the Social Democratic Party in the 1980s, and then into the rise of New Labour from the Labour election defeats of that decade."

The author, who is editor of the investigative journal Lobster and firmly on the Labour left, argues strongly that the incompetent Conservative economic policies in the 1970s under Ted Heath were the cause of the Labour defeat in 1979 which then put Margaret Thatcher into power.

The booklet argues that the Labour government has continued with the Thatcherite belief in the City of London and neglect of manufacturing, pointing out that chancellor Gordon Brown's first act was to hand control of interest rates to the Bank of England while he has continued ignoring the plight of manufacturing.

The book is engaging but it is a shame that it gives the impression that it was John Smith who lost the 1992 election for Labour when it was Kinnock.