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Another New Labour Monument

John Rentoul

Jenkins Thatcher 223x300 Another New Labour MonumentSocial cohesion. A drippy phrase; an important idea. And it turns out that it has improved over the past decade. A huge New Labour achievement, repairing the damage done by the bad side of Thatcherism.

The Cabinet Office has published the Community Life Survey, which finds that 78 per cent of people say that they feel they belong to their neighbourhood, up from 70 per cent in 2003; and 87 per cent say that “people from different backgrounds get on well together” in their local area, up from 80 per cent 10 years ago.

Those who decry the past 30 years as one long misery of neoliberalism and Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as mere copies of Thatcher and Major will not recognise that New Labour was the end of Thatcherism, not its continuation.

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  • mightymark

    Interesting result and I agree with the conclusion – but why is social cohesion “drippy”?

    If we accept that any phrase that emphasises the softer, caring or even sentimental side of our national life is “drippy” then surely Thatcherism has won?

  • Jamesny

    There’s a massive assumption here: That the policies of either government are responsible for this.

    What if we’re more tolerant of people from other cultures merely because people have had more time to see that people from other backgrounds are simply people – just like them?

    How do you exclude the impact of technology in binding communities together by making it far easier to organize and publicize events, causes and institutions in the hyper-local sphere?

  • PurbeckPashmina

    Quite so John, and Cameron and Osborne’s pretences of reworking Brown & Blair’s “Project” are verbiage.

  • paulthorgan

    There is no link established between this single statistic and the change of government in 1997.

    Thatcherism was about paying your way in the world and delivering value. New Labour was about getting elected after 18 years in opposition and staying in power.

    The difference between Thatcher and Blair is that Blair is booed at his party conference by the activists. That represents the triumph of Thatcherism.

  • Pacificweather

    I think people decry Blair’s neoconservatism not his neoliberalism. They decry Gordon Brown for that. People threatened with high explosives always feel stronger neighbourliness. In the 1940’s it was the enemy without that brought them together, now it is the enemy within – corrupt, self serving, undemocratic politicians who shame us as a nation. That is what brings them together.

    Where do the high explosives come in to that? That is what they threaten us with. They even do their level best to create more people with murderous intent. The more they do it the closer we will band together against them. The English Courts have, for once, set us a good example to follow. I have never felt close to the English legal system before.

  • andagain

    So “social cohesion” is higher now, under Cameron, than it was in 2003, under Blair?

    How does that demonstrate “a huge New Labour achievement”?

    It could just as easily demonstrate a huge achievement for David “Big Society” Cameron. (In spite of his slogan, admittedly.)

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