New Labour at the Centre: Constructing Political Space

Hardcover | February 27, 2006

byAndrew Hindmoor

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Taking as its starting-point Anthony Downs' seminal work, An Economic Theory of Democracy, this book draws upon insights generated within economics, political psychology, and the study of rhetoric to examine the way in which New Labour achieved and maintained its electoral hegemony from 1994.Journalists and politicians routinely attribute New Labour's electoral success to its occupation of the 'centre-ground'. This book is interested in the question of how New Labour moved to the right and towards the centre. The obvious answer to this question is that New Labour moved by changing itspolicies. Against this, the book contends that changes in policy cannot in themselves constitute a complete explanation of changes in spatial position. They cannot do so because there is no pre-given and fixed relationship between policies and position such that the rejection of one policy and theadoption of another moves a party from one position to another. Policies are not immutably left-wing, right-wing, or centrist and so, given that the position a party is thought to occupy is a function of the policies to which it is committed, parties are not immutably left-wing, right-wing, orcentrist either. The relationship between policy and position and thereby between parties and position is constructed and is in part constructed by parties themselves. New Labour did not simply move to the centre. It had to persuade the media, voters, and other parties that it had moved to thecentre. New Labour achieved and maintained its electoral hegemony not simply by changing one set of policies for another. It achieved and maintained its hegemony by successfully constructing its policies as centrist.

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Taking as its starting-point Anthony Downs' seminal work, An Economic Theory of Democracy, this book draws upon insights generated within economics, political psychology, and the study of rhetoric to examine the way in which New Labour achieved and maintained its electoral hegemony from 1994.Journalists and politicians routinely attrib...

Andrew Hindmoor is a Lecturer in Politics, University of Exeter.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:232 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.59 inPublished:February 27, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199273146

ISBN - 13:9780199273140

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The Centre, Downs, and New Labour3. Rhetoric and the Construction of the Centre4. Rhetoric, New Labour, and the Construction of the Centre5. Innovation and the Construction of the Centre6. Innovation, New Labour, and the Construction of the Centre7. Framing and the Construction of the Centre8. Framing, New Labour, and the Construction of the Centre9. Leadership and the Construction of the Centre10. Leadership and New Labour11. Conclusion