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Nostalgia and the post-war Labour PartyPrisoners of the past$
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Richard Jobson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526113306

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526113306.001.0001

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The New Labour era, 1992–2010

The New Labour era, 1992–2010

(p.134) 5 The New Labour era, 1992–2010
Nostalgia and the post-war Labour Party

Richard Jobson

Manchester University Press

This chapter assesses the role played by nostalgia during the New Labour era. Building on the analysis presented in this book’s introduction, it outlines how Tony Blair and other leading New Labour figures were overtly hostile to nostalgia and attempted to overturn the party’s attachment to the past. Yet, whilst symbolic modernising changes were made (most notably to Clause IV of the party’s constitution in 1995), this chapter questions the totality of the anti-nostalgic reorientation that took place. It argues that, during this period, nostalgia was suppressed rather than eradicated. An underlying nostalgia continued to inform the party’s identity (particularly at a rank-and-file level where activists were unencumbered by the wider political and electoral considerations of the party’s leadership). Furthermore, when interacting with their party, New Labour élites were often forced to deploy nostalgia instrumentally in order both to increase their political capital and to secure their goals and objectives.

Keywords:   Labour, Nostalgia, New Labour, Tony Blair, Clause IV

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