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Labour and the Left in the 1980s
This volume of essays constitutes the first history of Labour and left-wing politics in the decade when Margaret Thatcher reshaped modern Britain. Leading scholars explore aspects of left-wing culture, activities and ideas at a time when social democracy was in crisis. There are articles about political leadership, economic alternatives, gay rights, the miners' strike, the Militant Tendency and the politics of race. The book also situates the crisis of the left in international terms as the socialist world began to collapse.
Tony Blair's New Labour disavowed the 1980s left, associating it with failure, but this volume argues for a more complex approach. Many of the causes it championed are now mainstream, suggesting that the time has come to reassess 1980s progressive politics, despite its undeniable electoral failures. With this in mind, the contributors offer ground-breaking research and penetrating arguments about the strange death of Labour Britain. -- .
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'This volume is a reappraisal of the 1980s as not a time of political failure but also 'a creative decade for the left. Victories may have been few but there was no lack of energy' (p. 2). It claims that if the right won the economic argument of this period, the left helped set the social and moral agenda of the twenty-first century.'
Eleanor Lowe, Queen Mary University of London, Twentieth Century British History -- .