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publications > the making of a young country

The making of a young country, chapter by Helen Wilkinson for The Blair Agenda, edited by Mark Perryman, published by Lawrence and Wishart, 1996

Under Tony Blair's leadership, for the first time in a generation Labour has a realistic possibility of defeating the Conservatives. But is New Labour new enough? How does Blair's brand of modernization measure up to the changing shape of late-20th-century politics? This study examines in detail the enduring legacy of Thatcherism, a legacy that has played a central role in determining the parameters of New Labour's policy debates. Recounting past histories of Labourist modernizations, contributors analyze the model for transformation Tony Blair has offered his party, and the redefinition of the labels "left" and "right" forced by this process. Drawing on a wide variety of critical theories, this book focuses on the key ideological themes that Tony Blair has highlighted since becoming party leader - ethics and socialism, social justice and community, nationhood and the "young country". Do these themes amount to something more than just a brilliant election-winning strategy? In a collection which foregrounds the need for a renewal of intellectual life, the generational, constitutional and cultural tensions that might offset the ambitions of a Blair government, are addressed in a context of thoughtful realism, but also with an optimism in the potential for change that matters. Contributors to this volume include: Kevin Davey, Andrew Gamble, Anne Showstack Sassoon, Gareth Smyth, Wendy Wheeler and Helen Wilkinson.

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