New Labour tended to emphasise the idea of social justice, in contrast to the idea of social equality, which tended to be Labour’s focus under politicians such as Michael Foot. Ideas such as ‘minimum standards’ and ‘equality of oppurtunity’ started to emerge under Blair, sweeping aside concepts such as ‘equality of outcome’, which had started to develop into an aim during Old Labour’s moresocialist history. Blair, sensing the toxic brand that Old Labour had become, removed any notion that communist ideals remained in the Labour Party by implementing a sense of merit into his policies, while retaining the more left-wing value of equal oppurtunities. For example, it is under New Labour that the minimum wage was introduced in April 1999, after being a central plank of Tony Blair’s 1997 election manifesto. The policy was hailed as one of the most successful in 30 years, and it is from this  realm of ideals that New Labour morphed from its previous self into a more centrist party, dedicated to appealing to a broad spectrum of voters from a multitude of classes and backgrounds. Here lies the basis of Old and New Labour’s ideological differences, and perhaps the basis of Miliband’s sentiment that New Labour became weak and complacent: from a desire to please everyone spawned an inability to do so in a competent manner.

© Georgina Rowlands, all rights reserved