Professor Andy Hindmoor

Sheffield University



Our sense of history shapes how we think about who we are. One of the distinguishing features of the left in Britain is that it holds to a remorselessly bleak and miserabilist view of our recent political history – one in which Margaret Thatcher’s election in 1979 marked the start of a still-continuing fall from political grace made evident by the triumph of a free market get-what-you-can neoliberal ideology, dizzying levels of inequality, social decay, rampant individualism, state authoritarianism and political corruption. The left does not like what has happened to us and it does not like what we have become.

I am going to argue that this history is wrong and self-harming. It is wrong because Britain has in many (although certainly not all) respects become a more politically attractive and - much as I cringe whenever I hear this term - progressive country over the last few decades. It is self-harming because this bleak history undermines faith in politics. In this book I offer an alternative and more optimistic and balanced history of modern Britain. Britain is not a social democratic paradise. But it is a long way from being a posterchild for neoliberalism. Left-wing ideas and arguments have shaped and continue to shape our politics. The left has not been left behind.

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