Conference examines how Third Way lost its way

Published: 13 March 2018 at 15:32

Bill Clinton

Experts will gather at Anglia Ruskin to discuss the legacies of Tony Blair and Bill Clinton

Experts from the UK and abroad will meet in Cambridge on Saturday 24 March to discuss the rise and fall of progressive, middle-ground politics on both sides of the Atlantic.

Organised by Anglia Ruskin University’s Labour History Research Unit, the conference will see political scientists and historians give their verdict on the Third Way’s time in power and look at the legacies left by the likes of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and the New Labour project.

It is now over a decade since Blair left Downing Street, and 25 years since Clinton won the US presidency. In light of recent polarising developments, such as Donald Trump and Brexit, and the popularity of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, the conference will consider everything from the foreign policy of national leaders to the effects of domestic policy on ordinary citizens.

Dr Richard Carr, Senior Lecturer in History and Politics at Anglia Ruskin University, said:

“The Third Way saw centre-left parties in Britain, the US and elsewhere win many elections, but also dramatically altered the way progressives governed.

“In the UK, the Iraq War, tuition fees, and the use of PFI have seen some label New Labour as a disastrous project, but it was also the government that battled to secure a National Minimum Wage, peace in Northern Ireland, and record levels of investment in the NHS.

“The Third Way’s model of ruthless pragmatism married to redistribution by stealth worked incredibly successfully for ten years, but the 2008 financial crisis, which incubated and then unravelled under Labour’s watch, has come to redefine our politics beyond the norms of the 1990s. It is time to reconsider Blair and Clinton’s legacy, their achievements, and what they mean today.”

The conference will take place at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus and is open to the general public as well as academics. It costs £20 to attend, which includes lunch and refreshments.