Speak for Britain!: A New History of the Labour Party

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9781847920089: Speak for Britain!: A New History of the Labour Party

Appearing at a critical juncture in the history of the Labour Party, Speak for Britain! provides an original and challenging interpretation of Labour's evolution from its sectional trade union origins to its present status as a national governing party. Making use of a wide range of primary sources as well as constituency party records that reveal the dynamics of membership recruitment and the adoption of candidates, Martin Pugh challenges many traditional accounts written from the perspective of the national leadership. Controversially, he argues that Labour never entirely succeeded in becoming "the party of the working class." Rather than converting the whole working class to Socialism, it skillfully adapted itself to the variations in local and regional political cultures by making use of Victorian Liberal-Radical traditions in some areas and employing a populist Tory brand of politics in others. Moreover, the character of the party was shaped by the recruitment of many of its influential leaders from middle and upper-class Conservative backgrounds. Speak for Britain! charts Labour's rise to power by re-examining the importance of the First World War, the General Strike of 1926, Labour's breakthrough at the 1945 general election, the influence of post-war affluence, and consumerism on the fortunes and character of the party, and its revival after the defeats of the Thatcher era. Finally, in a fresh assessment of Labour in government since 1997, Martin Pugh shows how the party became marginalized and emasculated by Tony Blair's presidential style of government. He also reveals one of the party's enduring weaknesses: the tendency to choose the wrong leaders—and then to hang on to them for too long.

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About the Author:

Martin Pugh was Professor of British History at Newcastle University and Research Professor in History at Liverpool John Moores University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a member of the advisory panel of the BBC History Magazine, and the author of more than twelve books on 19th and 20th century history.

Review:

"Excellent and provocative new history" -- John Campbell * Mail on Sunday * "An admirable model of how political history should be written" * Times Literary Supplement * "Overall the book is... spliced with incisive arguments and interspersed with challenging verdicts on Labour's evolution... This ambitious Labour history could well become compulsory reading for future party leaders" -- John Shepherd * History Today * "A startlingly revisionist book... The most provocative and clear-eyed history of the party yet... It is a tribute to Pugh's scholarship that almost everybody will learn something new from this thoughtful book" -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times * "A stimulating survey" -- Kenneth O'Morgan * Literary Review *

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Martin Pugh
Published by Random House UK (2010)
ISBN 10: 184792008X ISBN 13: 9781847920089
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Book Description Random House UK, 2010. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX184792008X

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