History

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,…

No Country for Old Labour

The concept of Old Labour is vague, but comforting. It conjures up images of a time when values weren’t compromised. A time when the party knew what, and most importantly, who it stood for. Sustaining this legend requires a number of instances of racism at the core of Labour policy in both foreign and domestic spheres to be ignored, and a gross…

In the Shadow of Beeching

I’ve lived near the railway all my life. Saying that may conjure up rose-tinted images of the Railway Children; the reality is more high-speed trains 50 feet from my back door rattling the glass on my desk every half hour. The village where I’ve lived and grown up these past 19 years sprung up in the 1850s around the railway station. At…