The war on terror has shaped and defined the first decade of the twenty-first century, yet analyses of Britain's involvement remain limited and fragmentary. This book provides a comprehensive, detailed and critical analysis of these developments. It argues that New Labour's support for a militaristic campaign was driven by a desire to elevate Britain's influence on the world stage, and to assist the United States in a new imperialist project of global reordering. This included participation in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, support for extra-legal measures and a diminution of civil liberties through punitive anti-terror legislation. Ostensibly set within a political framework of promoting humanitarian values, the government's conduct in the war on terror also proved to be largely counter-productive, eroding trust between the citizenry and the state, putting the armed forces under increasing strain, reducing Britain's global position and ultimately exacerbating the threat from radical Islamic terrorism. While new imperialism is typically treated as either an ‘economic’, ‘political’, ‘militaristic’ or ‘humanitarian’ endeavour, this study seeks to enhance current scholarly accounts by setting the events and dynamics of the war on terror within a more holistic and multi-dimensional account of new imperialist forces.
New Labour came to power in 1997 promising to modernize Britain and make it fit for the twenty-first century. This book studies Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's combined attempt to sell the idea of a European future to the British people. It is about the art of rhetoric, persuasion and the techniques of modern political communication, and the 'Europe question' in British politics. It traces the progressivist elements of New Labour's discourse on British European policy with reference to the place perceptions of history occupied in Blair and Brown's speeches on foreign policy. The book explains the idea of 'norm entrepreneurship' and how it can be adapted to help us think through New Labour's handling of British European policy. It focuses on various aspects of the politics, language and decision-making style of New Labour. Theoretical approaches to Euroscepticism to help us understand, through the empirical data in the speeches, how Blair and Brown constructed their identity as 'Europeans' against their perceived 'sceptical' opponents. The method of discourse analysis used to study the strategies Blair and Brown put in place to realize their goals, is discussed. The book presents the evidence on the ways in which the Prime Minister and Chancellor discursively constructed the Europe question as a matter of protecting and/or advancing vital British national interests. Trapped between a broadly hostile media and an apathetic public, Blair and Brown failed to provide the necessary leadership to see Britain to a European future.
I believe that we should have the confidence to engage with Europe and make it better and – dare I say it – more British. (Brown 1997a)
Throughout this book we saw how Gordon Brown acted as both enabler and obstacle to Tony Blair in NewLabour’s search for a pro-European consensus in Britain. On the one hand the Chancellor faithfully sent out identical messages to the Prime Minister about the need for Britain to be outward-looking, proactive in the world and a full and wholehearted member of the EU. At its crudest, the interest-based case Blair
Minister was reluctant even to mention the EU, let alone the details of the budget agreement that had sparked his combative outburst just hours earlier. The paper’s leader opined that ‘Britain’s EU presidency over, it seems, the dangerous subject of Europe can be consigned to the back burner, where this avowedly pro-European government prefers to keep it. What a difference the audience makes’ ( Independent 2005).
Here we see why the words from The Darjeeling Limited script say more about NewLabour’s European discourse than either Blair or Brown might have
Controlling the presentation and perception of policy is no longer a secondary matter, it is virtually inseparable from policy making, and advisers like [Alastair] Campbell seem now to be inside the process of policy making. (Fairclough 2000: 122)
Blair was starting to invent a NewLabour language. (Naughtie 2002: 88)
Aristotle said that the art of political persuasion relies fundamentally on a leader’s mastery of language, skilful rhetoric and the ability to create empathy between speaker and listener (Kennedy 1991). The nature of the
How new is NewLabour? As the tenor of this book indicates, there are
no instant revolutions in British government, rather a gradual evolution
of ideas towards eventual change either through legislation or differing
patterns of political and social behaviour. Apart from restructuring the
machinery for decision-making within local authorities many NewLabour initiatives were established elements of the party’s policy before
Tony Blair assumed the leadership. Labour governments in recent times
have married these initiatives to many of the trends
NewLabour: doing good in Africa
This book is about fantasy and idealisation, about how international relationships provide opportunities to create and pursue them, and why they
are essential for political communities. In its transcendence of the domestic,
political realm, the field of international relations (IR) provides fantasy and
idealisation in a variety of ways: for realists, it depicts a place of anarchy
and free-flowing aggression; for liberal-utopians, it is potentially a place of
harmony and idealism. In both cases, the international
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Despite all of Kinnock’s efforts to make the Labour Party electable and
ready for government, it lost the general election of 9 April 1992,
though the Conservatives were returned with the much smaller majority of only twenty-one seats. This was the fourth successive victory for
the Conservative Party, but after a short period of euphoria, the
Conservative government under John Major suffered a series of
setbacks and for much of the next five years appeared to be lurching
from one crisis to
NewLabour, new openness?
Transparency laws are frequently introduced by a combination of external and
internal changes (Michener 2015d). NewLabour’s support for FOI was partially
through willing embrace and partially through having it forced upon them. By the
1990s party backing, policy shifts and pragmatic opportunism had pushed the law
centre stage. Despite its lack of electoral salience, for NewLabour there was ‘no
question of backing away from it in 1997’ (interview with Mark Fisher MP 2005).
FOI was partly thrust upon the Labour Party leadership. In
It is certainly true that one of the more significant qualities of a national leader is the ability to tell a country ‘stories’ about itself which make sense of what a leader and a party are trying to achieve. (Rentoul 1997: 398)
Chapters 7 and 8 traced the progressivist elements of NewLabour’s discourse on British European policy with reference to the place perceptions of history occupied in Blair and Brown’s speeches on foreign policy. The Prime Minister and Chancellor called on the British people to ‘make sense of their past’, which, for them