New Britain: My Vision of a Young Country

In This Review

New Britain: My Vision of a Young Country

By Tony Blair
Westview Press, 1997
338 pp. $22.00
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As campaign manifestoes go, this is certainly an illuminating one. A collection of speeches and articles, it affords a good view of the "new Labor" that Blair has shaped and of the "new Britain" he will now try to create as prime minister. His vision is far less vapid than his prudent and rhetorically hollow campaign made one fear. What emerges is, indeed, something new (for the Labor party): a vision of class cooperation instead of class struggle; an emphasis on efficiency and technological progress at least as strong as the more traditional emphasis on social justice; a genuine, informed concern for education (it will be "the passion of my Government"); a recognition of the need for a market economy but not for the demise of public means of intervention; a far more positive attitude toward Europe than in the past; and a devolution of power to Britain's components, putting an end to "the era of big centralized government." The notion of a "stakeholder" economy and politics emphasizing investment, quality, and trust was, if not a triumph of substance over slogans, a good way of stealing Conservative assets.