The Verdict

Did Labour Change Britain?

David Walker,Polly Toynbee

Published: 6 October 2011
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 320 pages
ISBN: 9781847082503


Did the Labour government improve people's lives? Are we healthier, wealthier or wiser; happier or safer than in 1997, when Labour came to power? If we are, how much do we have to thank Blair and Brown and their cabinets for? In The Verdict, Polly Toynbee and David Walker strip away spin, personality and political rhetoric to judge how our lives have changed. They consider Labour's lasting legacy and what its successors can learn from Labour's performance.

Travelling the country, Toynbee and Walker compare Labour's promises with people's own accounts of what they experienced in recent years. They drop in on a Sure Start centre and visit schools, hospitals and colleges - and estates plagued by disorder - to ask: what different did Labour make?

Combining sharp, witty writing, human stories and expert analysis, The Verdict charts Labour's often bewildering array of initiatives, projects and schemes. It questions how many depended on bubble finance and how many will be missed as recent public spending cuts take hold. From the early optimism of 'Things can only get better' to the misery of the financial crisis, Toynbee and Walker hand down the definitive judgement on Labour's record.

About the author

Image of David Walker

David Walker is Managing Director, Communications and Public Reporting, at the Audit Commission. He was formerly editor of the Guardian's 'Public' magazine and before that Chief Leader Writer for the Independent. He is a member of the council of the Economic and Social Research Council and a trustee of the Franco-British Council. He is co-author of Sources Close to the Prime Minister, The Times Guide to the New British State and, with Polly Toynbee, Unjust Rewards: Did Things Get Better and Better or Worse: Did Labour Deliver? More about the author

Image of Polly Toynbee

Polly Toynbee is a political and social commentator for the Guardian. Previously she was the BBC's Social Affairs Editor and a columnist for the Independent and the Observer. She is the author of, among others, Hard Work: Life in Low-Pay Britain, Hospital and Lost Children. With David Walker she has written two audits of Labour's first and second terms, Did Things Get Better? and Better or Worse?: Did Labour Deliver? More about the author

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