3 Changing Clause IV


In a bold move, Blair used his 1994 leader’s speech to call for change. In his 2010 memoirs Blair explained his motives.


“Of course, as opponents of the change immediately pointed out once it was announced, it was largely symbolic. No one except the far left ever really believed in Clause IV as it was written. In a sense, that was my point: no one believed in it, yet no one dared remove it. What this symbolized, therefore, was not just something redundant in our constitution, but a refusal to confront reality, to change profoundly, to embrace the modern world wholeheartedly. In other words, this symbol mattered. It was a graven image, an idol. Breaking it would also change the psychology in the party that was damaging and reactionary and which was precisely what had kept us in Opposition for long periods. It had meant that although we were able erratically to do well against the Tories in response to their unpopularity, we could not govern consistently on our own merits. For me, therefore, removing Clause IV was not a gimmick or a piece of good PR or a question of drafting; it was vital if Labour was to transform itself.”


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“3 Changing Clause IV,” New Dawn? 1997, accessed May 25, 2024, https://newdawn1997.omeka.net/items/show/17.


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