Why did 'New Labour' win three elections in a row: 1997, 2001 & 2005?

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  • Three elections in a row
    • The 1997 election
      • Cons. had been in power since 1979
      • public boredom with Major government
      • widespread perception that the Cons. had become sleazy & dishonest
      • Cons. were split over Europe
      • New Labour looked strong, united & ready to take power
      • Tony Blair was popular & charismatic
      • New Labour policies targeted the middle class with a focus on opportunity, education & social justice
      • New Labour had rejected / reduced much of what had made 'old Labour' unpopular
        • high taxes
        • Trade Union links
        • class envy
    • Why did Labour win in 2001 & 2005?
      • all economic indicators were good
        • UK's GDP growth was higher than EU average
        • Britain had low unemployment
        • low inflation
        • low interest rates
        • rising house prices & living standards for most people
      • Brown declared an 'end to boom and bust'
        • 10 years of non-stop economic growth 1997-2007
      • increased spending on schools & NHS - popular with large groups of voters
      • Lab. looked united behind  Blair, even after Ira 2003
        • at the time many people supported going to war (9/11 2001)
      • Blair was populist & a skilled communicator with MC voters of 'Middle England'
      • Lab. managed its image & PR very professionally
        • Mandelson & spin doctors
      • peace in Northern Ireland 1998
      • devolution to Scotland & Wales
      • New Labour mainly united over Europe
      • Blair seen as a strong international statesman for Britain in a number of crises
        • Iraq, Balkans, Kosovo, Afghanistan
      • 'toxic legacy' of Thatcher for the Tories
        • seen by some as the 'nasty party'
        • Lab. seen as progressive party delivering economic prosperity & social justice for all
          • a winning formula
      • Tories went through 4 leaders 1997-2005
        • looked like a party in retreat & confusion
        • they could not do much against the populist appeal of Blair
        • they were in the same position as Lab. in the 1980s under Foot
          • they would have to radically relaunch themselves as a 'new party' if they were to ever win power again


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