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The Blair Supremacy - a study in the politics of Labour’s party management

20 Sep 2014

A ground-breaking new book investigating the management of the Labour Party during Tony Blair's leadership - published by Manchester University Press - will be debated at a Labour Party Conference fringe event (open to the media) on Monday.

Tony Blair had a massive impact on the Labour Party, receiving huge acclaim as he brought it back to power as ‘New Labour’ after 18 years in the political wilderness. This book analyses and reassesses his processes and methods of producing change and consolidating power, and in focusing on three main questions - How were these changes achieved? Was it, as it was often represented, a complete supremacy? Why did it end so badly with Blair being forced, in effect, to step down?

The Blair Supremacy is ground-breaking in its investigation of the processes, methods, character and politics of party management, during a period when Blair strengthened his own position as he and his allies and managers drove the party through a ferment of new developments under the name ‘New Labour’.

Lewis Minkin has immense experience of the Labour Party and has acted as adviser to two major internal reviews of the internal party organisation. As the author of two widely acclaimed and original studies on the Labour Party, The Labour Party Conference and The Contentious Alliance, he possesses an unrivalled grasp of the subtleties and nuances of Labour’s internal relationships.

Minkin has been able to draw on a wealth of sources unavailable to other scholars. What is uncovered here is revealing and at times startling. It includes an extensive covert internal organisation, a culture which facilitated manipulation and what can be described as a rolling coup. These developments are rigorously and critically examined with a strong focus on three fundamental questions: The study challenges many misconceptions and sheds new light on the Blair legacy and on the intense controversies surrounding him. It also adds greatly to our understanding of some acute contemporary problems in British political life.