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  2. MA Government Studies
optional module
15 credits

The New Labour Years: The Blair Brown Revolution

The module considers the New Labour governments from a historical perspective, tracing changes and themes across the thirteen years of Tony Blair’s and Gordon Brown’s premierships, using the rigour of the historical method. Special attention is given to the memoirs and diaries of the central protagonists, and a high-profile range of guests allow students to truly interrogate their sources face-to-face. 
Alastair Campbell talks to students in 2023

New Labour was a transformative government with a legacy that remains instructive for politicians and policymakers on both sides of the political spectrum. This module sees students learn and debate the breadth of New Labour years – the personal history of the key protagonists, the role of media spin, the power of the Treasury under Brown, the development of transformative public service reform, the role of special advisers, foreign policy and the Iraq War.

Tony Blair with students in 2022

The course is co-taught by Dr Michelle Clement; Professor Jon Davis and John Rentoul, Chief Political Commentator for The Independent, biographer of Blair and King’s Visiting Professor. The course was founded in 2008 and has been a pioneering learning environment for the study of the New Labour years. The first book of the course, Heroes or Villains?: The Blair Government Reconsidered, was written by Rentoul and Davis.

The seminars see a wide range of prominent participants from government and the Civil Service invited to speak and to field questions. In the past guests have included Ed Balls, Lord Blunkett, Alastair Campbell, Anji Hunter, Baroness Jay, Lord Mandelson, Alan Milburn, Baroness Morgan, Lord O’Donnell, Sir Kevin Tebbit, and Tony Blair himself.

Tony Blair in 2020

Learning Outcomes:

Teaching team:

Dr Michelle Clement

Professor Jon Davis

John Rentoul

*Plus, special guest practitioners