Tony Blair’s New Labour government continued the path of economic liberalization, privatization of state industries and the reduction of government spending. The Blair regime’s first major act after coming into power was making the Bank of England and independent entity (Rutland, 2008). The privatization of state run industries was continued under Blair, this was most often undertaken through Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) where private sector invested in government schemes and control of government enterprises was partially handed over to them.
The New Labour government even reneged on its election promise to re-nationalize the British Railways, going on to finally complete the transition of the railways from a government run enterprise to a privately owned one (Mollona, 2009). The Labour government also reneged on their promise to replace the National Lottery’s private ownership with a not-for-profit operation. The London Underground was privatized in 2003 and plans for the privatization of the Royal Mail are underway (Mollona, 2009).
The Thatcher regime had confronted the powerful trade unions; anti-union laws were set into motion putting curbs on a union’s abilities to call a strike (Rutland, 2008). Despite being funded in large part by the trade unions, in its 12 years in power, the New Labour government did not engage in any major repeal of anti-union laws enacted by the Conservative government (Mollona, 2009).
Having faced the destructive effects of the Second World War, first hand, most of the British public was wary of war (Rutland, 2008). The launch of the Falklands War by the Thatcher regime was thus the start of a new era of militarism.
The New Labour government of Tony Blair adopted the warlike policy of the Thatcher regime. Blair supported the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslav troops in Kosovo and the 2002 Afghan War. He even supported the American led Iraq War launched in 2003, even though the British public was strongly against it (Rutland, 2008).
The New Labour government too, has been criticized heavily for percieved restrictions on the civil liberties of the citizenry under the guise of fighting “The War Against Terror”, anti-war protestors have especially faced the wrath of the regime (Porter, 2006).
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