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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the unfinished revolution
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...
Published on 20 Oct 2011 by Jim Morrison

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16 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How the establishment clawed back the Labour Party
I was a member of the Labour Party during the events described in this book. Far from the uplifting and triumpalist approach the author takes, mine was of the autocratic closure of party branches, the destruction of internal democracy (and yes, it's replacement with those meaningless "focus groups"), the destruction of the youth wing of the party, the Labour Party Young...
Published on 14 Feb 2010 by John Penman


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the unfinished revolution, 20 Oct 2011
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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
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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
By 
T. T. Rogers - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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. That might seem an obvious statement, but one of the problems with the Left of the past two to three decades has been a tendency to substitute analysis with moral fantasy, to want the world to be how they wish it to be and then to act as if it is. We must be careful to acknowledge Gould's adeptness, but it is not moral fantasy to also suggest that "New" Labour was a cynical enterprise and there was an alternative social-democratic challenge to thatcherism that came to be ignored. Gould does not acknowledge this hidden truth in his book. Instead he engages in the usual revisionism that the New Labour project - and therefore, by extension, Gould himself - 'saved' the Labour Party. They didn't. In fact, some would argue they did the opposite. Gould treats Labour Party activists as a nuisance that the Party and the country must be cured of, hence the chapter titled, 'Electric Shock Treatment', which describes the changes made to the Labour Party under Blair, including the revision of Clause IV. This is someone who does not like democracy. Focus groups are better, as they can be controlled and manipulated to give the right answers.

In the writings of Marx and Engels, the 'Permanent Revolution' is a political approach that refuses all attempts by the bourgeoisie to moderate or compromise with the revolutionary proletariat. The workers must instead permanently pursue the single goal of a social revolution that will overthrow capitalism. The objective of Gould and others like him was hardly as radical, but Gould & Co. initiated a ruthless and uncompromising state of 'permanent revolution' within the Labour Party all the same by evacuating its clumsy and meddlesome representative structures and turning it into an election-winning machine, and by brooking no dissent - nor even discussion - from sceptics and 'moderate' opponents within the Labour Party, except in so far as an appearance of accommodation might assist their singular aim: the attainment of power.

In this book, Gould showcases his gifts as a strategist. Where he is found wanting is the lack of rigour in his political outlook. He continually talks of 'for the many, not the few', a vague and embarrassing slogan that about sums-up the central flaw of New Labour, a flaw that only became significant once the Blairites found themselves in office, and out of their depth. Without a firm ideological anchor, a governing party is adrift and at the mercy of events, its achievements are transient and its legacy is thin. In the end, New Labour's - and Gould's - legacy is real enough, though: a deep and harmful economic depression, mass immigration and David Cameron.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An insiders account of the Kinnock and Blair Labour Party, 19 Jun 1999
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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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inside New Labour, 7 April 1999
By A Customer
This book is a fascinating insight into the beating heart of New Labour, written from the perspective of a key moderniser. Anyone with an interest in modern British politics and anyone who wants to understand the development of the Labour Party should read it. As long as the reader is aware of where Gould is coming from, they cannot fail to be interested.
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16 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How the establishment clawed back the Labour Party, 14 Feb 2010
I was a member of the Labour Party during the events described in this book. Far from the uplifting and triumpalist approach the author takes, mine was of the autocratic closure of party branches, the destruction of internal democracy (and yes, it's replacement with those meaningless "focus groups"), the destruction of the youth wing of the party, the Labour Party Young Socialists, and Conference turned into a showcase rally.

Where there was debate there is now conformity. Where thre was discussion now there is preaching and dictat from on high. Where there was inclusion and accountabilty there is now a detached and unaccountable leadership. Witness the recent expences scandel. The author ignores or glosses over these issues with abandon, and for a reason. He and those of his ilk fear gunuine democratic socialist ideas.

And me gentle reader? I joined the Socialist Party.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb insight into New Labour, 7 Dec 2000
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I am a politics student with an avid interest in British politics and the so-called 'spin' surrounding New Labour. Philip Gould gives one the perfect insight into the world of New Labour: from the horrendous days of 1983 and Thatcherism up to the present day. The book gives information about the main characters behind the transformation behind the 'New Labour project', and the purpose and effort behind his focus group research. In short, a thoroughly excellent book for both politicians, students and the general public about arguably the most important change within the Labour party.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably the best book on New Labour, 7 Oct 1999
By A Customer
Gould's book is an insider account of New Labour's electoral strategy, written by a key political consultant to the party from the dog days of the 1980s to the electoral triumph of 1997. But Gould does more than simply describe the tactics and strategy of New Labour's electoral machine: he also provides the most impassioned and often poignant defense yet published of Blair's "third way" politics and policies. If I could assign only a single book on New Labour to my students, this would be it.
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