‘Explain the ideas and policies which link the modern Labour Party to socialism’. (10 marks) Socialism is the economic system based on cooperation rather than competition of businesses which utilizes centralized planning and redistribution of wealth. Industry is state owned and therefore companies have government monopolies on them which results in no competition. Industries are redistributed though the state to achieve a fairer society. Traditional Labour values were indeed a form of socialism as some of their core values include a large welfare state, mild redistribution of wealth through taxes and social mobility. Socialism was founded in 1789 if the modern day Labour party had the same ideologies as those of the original socialist politicians then it would be considered a far right party in today’s political spectrum.
Since its origins, the principles of socialism have evolved into many different forms of itself to make it compatible with society. There are many links to many differing forms of socialism both traditional and modern in today’s Labour party. Democratic socialists i.e. Labour believe in “Equality of opportunity” this means that everyone has the same opportunities to maximise their potential and accomplish high positions in life no matter what their background or ethnicity, for example a labourer’s child can become a lawyer or politician if he/she desires and they will not be discriminated against. This is still one of Labour’s core values, therefore linking to traditional socialism.
Another concept of democratic socialism is the redistribution of wealth an example of ‘New Labour’ doing that is increasing the amount in social housing estates, or the introduction of the ‘windfall tax’ which raised ?5billion to set up the ‘New Deal’ which helps the long term unemployed back to work through training and employment, thus giving opportunities to those who previously didn’t have the skills to generate their own wealth. Traditional socialism wants radical constitutional reform e.g. democratise institutions such as the House of Lords. ‘New Labour’ does want constitutional reform such as the de-centralisation of power and mild House of Lords reform e.g. it is elected not inherited. So therefore shows that Labour does still have socialist values.