Blair's Britain 1997-2007 Part 1

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  • Blair's Britain
    • Spin Works
      • essentially a form of public relations at its best; telling lies at its worst
      • Alistar Campbell & Peter Mandelson handled the media & helped Blair judge the public mood
      • practice was not new - Thatcher used it to a lesser degree
      • the issue was the large degree of influence they seemed to have not only on presentation but on the shaping of govt. policy
      • they created 'buzz words' & sound bites to convey the New Lab. message
        • 'Cool Britannia', 'inclusiveness', 'stakeholder society' & 'forces of conservatism'
    • Bank of England Autonomy
      • Brown gave the BoE the authority to set interest rates independently of govt. interference
        • keeping an important financial issue out of political arena
      • however, could have been a subtle way of avoiding blame should mistakes been made in setting interest rate
      • Brown kept an election pledge that Lab. would keep within the spending plans laid out by the Cons.
        • his prudent budgets swelled B's reserve funds & kept inflation down
      • however, possibly couldn't have done this had he not inherited a strong economy from Major
        • when he became PM the success of his earlier years was not sustained
    • Devolution of Scotland & Wales
      • in its election manifest, Lab. committed to devolution
        • it was honoured by the creation of the Scottish Parliament & Welsh Assembly
      • not fully independent, however, because Lab. relied on support from Scotland & Wales in elections
        • Scotland & Wales = Labour & England = Cons.
      • full devolution would destroy Lab's chance of holding power
      • after Good Friday Agreement, govt. in NI created
    • House of Lords Reform
      • removed hereditary peers
      • Blair created more life peers by 2001 than Cons. did in 18 years
      • critics complained Blair packing Lords with supporters to easily pass legislation & consolidate power
      • even some in Lab. unhappy about this
        • e.g. Tony Benn (Lab's conscience) described the process as going back 700 years to when monarchs got their way by surrounding themselves with 'yes men'

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