Conclusion: The AES, New Times and the Death of British Socialism
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If Labour’s increased proximity to ‘class politics’ in the 1970s was associated with an economic need to moderate the wage claims of an emboldened workforce via closer union-government co-operation, by the 1980s the viability of this approach was called into question. A powerful new ideology of ‘Thatcherism’ was seen to have emerged, necessitating a fundamentally adjusted type of left-wing strategy. While New Labour did represent an outlook distinct from the social-democratic tradition to which the Alternative Economic Strategy belonged, its ideological ‘realignment’ did not emerge in a vacuum but, to an extent, out of the ideological shifts already established by the AES. Contrary to the academic view that the AES stands out as a markedly radical strategy in between 1950s revisionism and the ‘modernisations’ of Kinnock and Blair, in some ways the AES provided a bridge between ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Labour.