The British Labour Partys Left Turn

1141
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-12-63-73

N. Rabotyazhev (rabotiajev@mail.ru),
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation 

Abstract. The article is devoted to the ideological evolution of the British Labour Party after it went into opposition in 2010. After Tony Blair’s resignation in 2007, the Party began to revise the principles of New Labour. In the years of Ed Miliband’s leadership in the Party (2010-2015), the departure of British Labour from pro-market and pro-globalist doctrine of New Labour became more evident. Miliband criticized injustices and inequalities of capitalism and aspired to shift the Labour Party nearer to social democratic values. He proposed new projects such as “Responsible Capitalism” and “One Nation Labour” aimed at creation of a more just society in Great Britain. Miliband was also influenced by views of Blue Labour protecting the British identity and traditions, criticizing globalization and uncontrolled immigration. After the Labour Party’s defeat at the 2015 general election, Miliband resigned as its leader, and the 2015 BLP leadership election was won by Jeremy Corbyn, a “hard left”. Corbyn is an old fashioned democratic socialist and eurosceptic to some extent. Before the EU referendum in June 2016, he, however, called Labour to vote against Brexit. Nevertheless, later the elite of the Party accused him of incapability to mobilize supporters of European integration. Those events resulted in intra-party crisis, but in September 2016 Corbyn was re-elected as a Labour leader. Before the 2017 general election, the BLP published the Party Manifesto “For the Many, Not the Few”, which was influenced by Corbyn’s ideas. The Manifesto included some proposals in old left style – to nationalize some sectors of the economy, increase corporate tax rates, ramp up social spending and state investments. Nevertheless, at the parliamentary election of June 8, 2017, Labour made a net gain of 30 seats – mainly due to Corbyn’s charisma (though the Labour Party remained in opposition). In the author’s opinion, the BLP led by Jeremy Corbyn cannot win a general election because it will not be supported by voters from the middle class. 

Keywords: British Labour Party, social democracy, democratic socialism, New Labour, Blue Labour, Responsible Capitalism, One Nation Labour, hard left, Jeremy Corbyn, EU referendum, UK general election 2017 


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For citation:
Rabotyazhev N. The British Labour Partys Left Turn. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2017, vol. 61, no. 12, pp. 63-73. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-12-63-73



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