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The Unfinished Revolution: How New Labour Changed British Politics Forever [Paperback]

Philip Gould
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: 16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

19 Sep 2011
The Unfinished Revolution is the definitive story of New Labour from its genesis to its election defeat 2010 - covering over 25 years and six general elections of strategy, rebuilding and reinvention. In this extraordinary book, Philip Gould, one of the world's leading political strategists and a key adviser to Tony Blair during the period, brilliantly describes how New Labour came to dominate, falter and fall, assessing how successful it was in government, and where it should go from here. Drawing on his years of experience at the heart of New Labour he gives us his unique perspective on how best to understand the electorate, how to communicate policy and how to adapt in a rapidly changing world.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; Reprint edition (19 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349138575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349138572
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 179,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Your reaction to the words "focus group" will determine your attitude to this book. If you think they are useful tool for gauging shifts in public opinion, read on and enjoy their ultimate application. If you think they are a Machiavellian tool to provide bogus popular support for a specific agenda, read on and weep.

Philip Gould, Labour's most prominent pollster of the last 10 years, is the master of the focus group and one of the key architects of the transformation of the Labour Party. When Tony Blair announced on the steps of 10 Downing Street that "we fought as New Labour and we will govern as New Labour", it was a vindication of Gould's efforts behind the scenes. His account of the wilderness years under Foot and Kinnock are as convincingly depressing as is the vibrant exhilaration of launching the new project under Blair. 1997 was a victory for Gould's brand of, and approach to, politics. But he knows that the battle is far from over. In a call to arms for the next century--"the progressive century"--Gould claims: "It is time to heal the rift between the Liberal and Labour traditions in British politics". Expect a new rash of focus groups to agree with him. --Nick Wroe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Sincere and enthusiastic ... one of New Labour's defining texts ... this is an important political book' -- Will Hutton Observer 'The definitive account of the making of New Labour ... Fascinating' The Times 'Lively and revealing ... the best insider's account' -- Peter Kellner Evening Standard 'A fascinating piece of political history' -- Philip Stevens Financial Times

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the unfinished revolution 20 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a truly fascinating account of the creation of New Labour, beautifully written, with great insight and attention to detail. It can be said that Gould has been the real creator and brains behind New labour - without his vision it is doubtful if New Labour would ever have seen the light of day. It must be frustrating for him to see the imperceptible but inevitable backsliding to the old philosophy now taking place.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating 12 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Philip Gould brings his personal journey into stark relief in this excellent autobiographical work that encompasses the birth of New Labour. He appears to be without guile or - unusual this in a political biography - to indulge in point scoring. I particularly enjoyed his unvarnished critique and exposition on the failures of the 1992 campaign and the inside story of how Labour had to re-group in preparation for the Blair-Brown victory in '97, which of course no one could be sure would ever happen at the time. As a newcomer to political science, I found this an immensely readable and honest account of how the political process in Britain really works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Permanent Revolution 12 Jan 2013
It is interesting how in fairly recent times, people of both the Left and Right have co-opted the revolutionary language of Marx to describe their own struggles. We are informed there was a 'Thatcher Revolution' in which the New Right set about assailing the old institutions of Britain and its cultural complacency and replaced these with a 'new' vibrant entrepreneurial society. "New" Labour set out to fulfil a similar mission. Those who supported New Labour were united in an insipid 'anti-Tory' front more than a properly pro-Labour coalition, nevertheless the aim was the betterment of British society, not just the negation of political Toryism.

And a Blair Revolution there surely was. While that revolution could still be seen as unfinished, it is far from unfulfilled. The aim of both the New Right and their Blairite cousins was to supplant rigid social stratifications and old ideological approaches with a new form of liberalism ('neo-liberalism') in which the worker became a consumer; the trade unionist became an Employment Tribunal advocate; the miner became a call centre worker; the skilled labourer became a contractor; the housewife became a wage-slave; the soldier became a nation-builder; and, the various informal bonds and ties that made society were broken-down by the aggressive assertion of private enterprise, mass influxes of Third World migrants and the blunt means and modes of state intervention.

Philip Gould's 'The Unfinished Revolution' is a Curate's egg: an appallingly cynical document but nevertheless a brilliant exposition of how Blairism operated in practice. I use the term 'cynical' here not to reflect any wish-thinking on my part. If we are to understand the world, then we must see the world for what it really is.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I am mentioned in this book and what he says about me is very kind... but I won't let that cloud my judgement. This is the insider's account of Labour's struggle to get elected under Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair (the Smith years are viewed by author as a failure). The book is - not surprisingly - somewhat self-serving and occassionally reads as 'what Philip did next' but it is also graphic in its description of the chaos of the 92 election campaign and harsh (too harsh) in its assessment of John Smith. If Gould is in awe of Blair who can blame him: sometimes it seems that the rest of the world is too. If you love politics, if you desperately wanted Labour to win, if you need some ideas to revive the corpse of the Tory party, then read this book.
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