Blairite modernisation and countryside policy

Neil Ward, Philip Lowe

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17 Citations (Scopus)


When New Labour came to power in 1997, the party's manifesto had little to say about rural policy, beyond a proposal to allow a free vote to ban hunting with dogs and a commitment to establish a right to roam—essentially ‘old Labour’ and symbolic issues. However, in its early years the Blair government became drawn more heavily into rural policy reform and increasingly came to see rural issues as a territory on which its grand project of national renewal and modernisation could be played out. This article reviews the rise and fall of rural policy under New Labour, and charts how the aftermath of the 2001 foot and mouth disease crisis eventually saw rural issues marginalised within government. It shows how the Blair governments’ strange and unexpected excursion into reforming rural and agricultural policy provides a case study of the rise and fall of modernisation more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-421
Number of pages10
JournalThe Political Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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