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The Progressives

Beech, Matt


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Dr Matt Beech
Reader in Politics and Director of the Centre for British Politics


Kevin Hickson

Raymond Plant


The chapter on New Labour in the first edition of this volume was finished in 2003. Tony Blair resigned in 2007 and Gordon Brown left office in 2010. This chapter seeks not to cover previous ground but to take the long view. By that I mean to explain New Labour and its successors as a project which, in the fullest sense, sought to revise Labour ideology from the mid-1990s. This revisionist project focused on emphasising economic, social and constitutional liberalisms. This project would make Labour more centrist and therefore appealing to floating voters. It would also give this new breed of Labour politicians, if elected, a mandate to reform the United Kingdom. In the post-New Labour era this type of Labour worldview continues. It is espoused by Labour politicians such as Liz Kendall, Alison McGovern, Chuka Umunna; think-tanks such as Policy Network and Progress; contributors to The Purple Book: A Progressive Future for Labour; and by many intellectuals and activists. In the first edition I argued New Labour was the ‘new right-wing of the Labour Party’. Whilst no longer a new addition to the broad church of Labour thought, I maintain it was, and is the correct designation. The successors to New Labour including former Blairites and Brownites are best described as the Progressives.


Beech, M. (2018). The Progressives. In M. Beech, K. Hickson, & R. Plant (Eds.), The Struggle for Labour's Soul: Understanding Labour's Political Thought Since 1945 (67-79). (2nd edition). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Publication Date Jun 26, 2018
Deposit Date Jun 13, 2019
Publicly Available Date Dec 27, 2019
Pages 67-79
Series Title Routledge Studies in British Politics
Edition 2nd edition
Book Title The Struggle for Labour's Soul: Understanding Labour's Political Thought Since 1945
Chapter Number 5
ISBN 9781138047372
Keywords Progressives, Labour Party,
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