History

Review: A People’s History of Tennis

Credit: UA Archives – Upper Arlington Public Library (Repository: UA Historical Society) I have never considered myself a “sports person”.  In my salad days, I hardly brimmed with natural athleticism. To me, school sport was at best an irritant and at worst an exercise in humiliation–I faked injuries in order to do my homework in the library (I know, I know) and declared…

Left Reading Groups and Lockdown

Photo Credit: Rich Grundy  In 1792, a British army officer sent to assess the morale of potential troops in an imminent war against revolutionary France reported with horror that the workers of Sheffield did not only ‘read the most violent publications,’ they also ‘comment on them.’ In Halifax, a Methodist chapel had set up a debating society at which the town’s weavers…

Lansman’s Dilemma

“I think we made mistakes in the eighties. With hindsight, I don’t think we helped ourselves. We allowed ourselves to be marginalised; we were too unforgiving of people who some saw as betraying our principles and didn’t give them a way back. My view has always been that if you don’t take the mainstream of the Labour Party with you, you’re going…

“Do one legged ducks swim in a circle?” What does ‘Welsh Labour’ Mean?

Aneurin Bevan is venerated by all parts of the Labour Party, with seemingly every faction and politician casting themselves in his political image. In Welsh Labour, this is taken to the next level: “[Bevan] was mentioned by no less than five different speakers before lunch on the first day of Welsh Labour party conference in 2012”. This quote is taken from a…

Massively Observing (Yourself) – the Labour Campaign for Diary Keeping

There are few things about which I am ardent and zealous and universalist, entirely assured of the cold clear correctness and blanket applicability of my own position. It’s just not the soft left way; that kind of certainty is for tankies and Baptists. There is one cause, however, to which I offer the kind of blind and unquestioning devotion usually reserved for…

Labour and Authoritarianism

Authoritarianism has always shaped how the Labour Party has approached social policy. The New Labour years were defined by ‘tough’ Home Secretaries choosing their next target to deride as anathema to British society; be it professors telling uncomfortable truths about drugs, or asylum seekers having the temerity to exist within our borders. Tony Blair even went so far as to describe Labour’s…

New Labour’s Lessons

Two things can be true at once. In our increasingly febrile, fractured, and factional political morass, it is incumbent that we don’t lose sight of this fact. One can be wary of the ramifications of a second referendum, yet still reluctantly accept that it may be the best route out of our internecine impasse. One can support remaining in the European Union,…

Liberalism and Social Democracy

Political history doesn’t start in 1945. Most accounts of the post-war consensus pay tribute to the liberal influences of Keynes and Beveridge, and increasingly to the role of national and imperial sentiment in the myth of “Old Labour”. But more should be made of the UK’s largely forgotten first social democratic government; a government that united liberals and social democrats in finding,…