Solidarity, Society and the Welfare State in the United Kingdom

Health Care Analysis 8 (4):377-394 (2000)
Political argument and institutions in the UnitedKingdom have frequently been represented as the products of ablend of nationalistic conservatism, liberal individualism andsocialism, in which consensus has been prized over ideology. This situation changed, as the standard story has it, with therise of Thatcherism in the late 1970s, and again with the arrivalof Tony Blair's ``New Labour'' pragmatism in the late 1990s. Solidarity as an element of political discourse makes itsappearance in the UK late in the day. It has been most stronglylinked to the Third Way debate, as framed most influentially inthe work of Prof. Anthony Giddens.In this paper we review the history and pre-history of the debateon solidarity in the UK, focussing mostly on its implications forwelfare state reform. In particular we discuss the proposals forthe long-term care of the Elderly issued by the Royal Commissionon long-term care in 1999. In this context we critically examinethe idea that solidarity is a new concept in British politicalculture, and that it is a concept which has real political ``bite''in the project of welfare reform. We examine this through aconsideration of Giddens's attempted synthesis of politicalargument and social theory
Keywords health care  long-term care  philosophy  solidarity  Third Way  United Kingdom
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DOI 10.1023/A:1026595216507
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