Recoiling from the jolt administered by neo-liberals and the new right, the centre and centre-left had to find their balance once again. The Democratic Party in America had been out of office for 12 years and the Labour Party had been stuck in opposition to the Conservatives for 18 years. There can be little doubt that these parties regained their popularity and sense of direction by reassessing their aims and by devising a ‘third way’ between their old policy agenda and that of their main opponents. For Bill Clinton, the third way was situated between the old-style social liberalism of the Democratic Party and the new right perspectives of the Republicans. The new cocktail emphasised individual responsibility alongside a commitment to the community. It promised to serve the interests of the rich and poor and establish a new balance between the public and private sectors (Clinton, 2002). For Tony Blair, the third way meant maintaining the social democratic commitment to social justice but combining this with the (neo) liberal faith in the ‘… primacy of individual liberty in the market economy’ (Blair, 2003a, p. 28). In both cases, the third way meant increasing the role of government in economic and social affairs while stopping short of the level of intervention once supported by the Democratic and Labour Parties. The following account of the third way will pay particular attention to the ideas of Anthony Giddens and Will Hutton and to the policy initiatives of the Clinton administrations in the United States and the Blair governments in Britain.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Third Way
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number