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The Labour Party and the world, volume 2

Labour's foreign policy since 1951

By Rhiannon Vickers

The Labour Party and the world, volume 2

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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6746-4
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £70.00
  • Published Date: September 2011
  • BIC Category: Politics, International relations, Society & social sciences / International relations

Description

This is the second book in a unique two-volume study tracing the evolution of the Labour Party's foreign policy throughout the 20th century to the present date.

This is the first comprehensive study of the history of the Labour Party's worldview and foreign policy. It argues that Labour's foreign policy perspective should be seen not as the development of a socialist foreign policy, but as an application of the ideas of liberal internationalism.

Volume Two provides a critical analysis of Labour's foreign policy since 1951. It examines Labour's attempts to rethink foreign policy, focusing on intra-party debates, the problems that Labour faced when in power, and the conflicting pressures from party demands and external pressures. It examines attitudes to rearmament in the 1950s, the party's response to the Suez crisis and the Vietnam War, the bitter divisions over nuclear disarmament and the radicalisation of foreign and defence policy in the 1980s. It also examines Labour's desire to provide moral leadership to the rest of the world. The last two chapters focus on the Blair and Brown years, with Blair's response to the Kosovo crisis, to 9/11 and his role in the 'war on terror'. Whereas Blair's approach to foreign affairs was to place emphasis on the efficacy of the use of military force, Brown's approach instead placed faith in the use of economic measures.

This highly readable book provides an excellent analysis of Labour's foreign policy. It is essential reading for students of British politics, the Labour Party, and foreign policy.

Reviews

"In this interesting book, Rhiannon Vickers tackles the formidable task of analysing the bases of Labour's foreign policy from 1951 until Labour's election defeat in 2010."

"This book is a considerable achievement. It is a well-researched, thorough and thought-provoking study that will be essential for anyone interested in the Labour party or Britain's foreign policy."

"The book deals with an impressively wide range of issues, from Northern Ireland to Rhodesia to overseas development and it does so with clarity and insight."

This is a very useful overview of Labour's foreign policy since 1951, picking up the story from volume 1, published in 2004, which covered 1900-51. The central argument running through both volumes is that Labour's foreign policy can best be understood in terms of internationalism.
Altogether, the book is written in a clear and accessible manner and will be of particular value to students. At the same time, in emphasizing internationalism as a framework for understanding Labour's foreign policy across the twentieth century, it stands to stimulate further debate.

Author

Rhiannon Vickers is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics, University of Sheffield.

Contents

Introduction
1. Labour's foreign policy approach
2. The 1950s: new conflicts, rearmament and the bomb
3. The Wilson governments, 1964-70
4. Defence and foreign policy in the 1970s
5. The radicalisation of Labour's foreign and defence policy in the 1980s
6. New Labour triumphs
7. Labour's foreign policy in the twenty-first century
8. Conclusion
Bibliography

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