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Title: New Labour in power in the English countryside 1997-2010 : a social democratic moment forgone?
Author: Drew, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 9148
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2017
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An unprecedented number of Labour MPs was elected in rural areas in England in 1997. This study examines critically examines the making of rural policy and the implications for rural politics over the life-time of New Labour in power between 1997 and 2010. The analysis begins by evaluating New Labour’s representative role in the countryside after the 1997 election and considering the basis for the party’s claim that it represented rural areas. It then provides a critical assessment of how the New Labour governments operated in relation to the countryside, setting out frames within which to analyse policies for the countryside and discussing programmes such as rural proofing. The study then critically evaluates whether New Labour was ever able to throw off the accusation of opponents that it was an urban construct which marginalised the rural, and discusses how events and crises such as the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak impacted on the approach to rural areas. The body of the research analyses the approach to policy-making adopted by New Labour to investigate whether ‘externalisation’ and ‘decentralisation’ were important in how policy was made and the extent to which the wider New Labour mantra of modernisation affected the countryside. It also evaluates the extent to which temporal and spatial features played a part in how rural policy and politics evolved, and the extent to which this helped explain the course that the government pursued in the countryside. The research concludes by considering whether there was a ‘social democratic moment’ that opened up possibilities for important policy intervention in the countryside, and if so whether this opportunity was taken or missed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: New Labour ; rural ; socialism