May 1997. A Labour Landslide. On a swing of 8.8%, Labour win 418 seats giving Tony Blair a majority of 179. In their worst election defeat since 1906 the Tories retain just 165 MPs, with their smallest share of the vote since 1832. The story of the campaign Labour entered the campaign on the back… Continue reading Campaign 1997: The Making of a Landslide Country
The 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Bringing an end to the thirty year ‘troubles’, an agreement is signed to set up a power-sharing assembly for Northern Ireland with government by cross-community consent. How the world responded to ‘Peace at Last for Ulster’ At 5.36pm Senator George Mitchell, the Chairman of the multi-party talks at Stormont made… Continue reading The Long Good Friday: Peace at Last for Ulster
In the aftermath of election defeat, David Miliband emerged as the clear front-runner. Bookmakers priced DM at 4/7, Alastair Darling 8/1, Alan Johnson 10/1, Ed Miliband 11/1, Ed Balls 12/1. Andy Burnham 14/1, 16/1 Jon Cruddas, 25/1 James Purnell, 33/1 Liam Byrne, 40/1 John Denham, 50/1 Yvette Cooper Reflecting on thirteen years In office,… Continue reading Bloodied Brothers: The Milibands and the Battle for New Labour’s Legacy
Below is a thread on the 1994 Labour Leadership Contest. Looking back through the archives it is remarkable how the divide between the Bennites (then Corbyn, Abbott, Milne) and the Blairites was as clear and as similar then as it is today. The left viewed Blair with deep suspicion and claimed the country was more left-wing… Continue reading Blair’s Triumph: The 1994 Labour Leadership Contest
It is rare that a government introduces a policy to near-universal acclaim. But political experts agree that the minimum wage (NMW) is the most successful government policy of the past 40 years. However, it's introduction was fraught with political vulnerability and predictions of economic catastrophe. Labour could have easily jolted from it in the face of… Continue reading The Minimum Wage at 20: How The Tories Used Project Fear To Try And Stop It
After the sudden death of John Smith in May 1994, Tony Blair defeated John Prescott and Margaret Beckett for the leadership. The real battle had already been won, when Gordon Brown pulled out. I discussed this in Granita 1994 : The Night New Labour Was Born…And A Bromance Died. When Blair came to power he… Continue reading “The Tories have lost the nation’s trust. But that does not mean we inherit it automatically. We have to work for it. We have to earn it.”
Labour’s shock defeat in 1992 had a profound impact on the party and was the catalyst for future modernisation. But before the death of John Smith it did not look that way. In 1994 the Labour leadership thought they could achieve power by sitting back and watching the Tories implode. They thought ‘one more heave’ would be… Continue reading In 1994 Tony Blair Ditched ‘One More Heave’ and Won Big. Is It Time For Corbyn To Do The Same?
This was not a Windrush or Grenfell scandal. There was no ‘doomsday plan’ being modelled in the event of the country’s economic collapse. On the contrary, unemployment was at its lowest level for twenty years and take-home pay had risen 10% since 1997. Neither of which stopped The Sun from predicting that William Hague would become prime minister, overturning Labour’s… Continue reading Storm In A TB Cup: What A Political Crisis Looked Like Under New Labour