The historical perspective traces New Labour’s origins to the breakdown and failure of twentieth-century British Labourism alongside the consequent evolution of the Left’s political thought. The growing heterogeneity of class undermined the party’s identity, exacerbated by Labour’s inability after the Second World War to alter the electoral dynamics of British politics. An eclectic grouping of modernisers came to believe the ideas and identity around which the British Labour Party was constructed were anachronistic. The fundamental principles of the British welfare state were strengthened: there should be universal provision for all from cradle to grave with funding provided through partnership between the individual and the state. The Labour governments opted out of key European competencies in labour market regulation and migration. Labour’s view of government’s role reflected the antagonism between moral and mechanical reform. This clash created persistent confusion in Labour’s strategy and doctrine.