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. -- .
Jonathan Davis is Senior Lecturer in Russian History at Anglia Ruskin University Rohan McWilliam is Professor of Modern British History at Anglia Ruskin University -- .
Foreword by Peter Tatchell Introduction: new histories of Labour and the left in the 1980s - Jonathan Davis and Rohan McWilliam PART I: The crisis of the Labour Party 1 Retrieving or re-Imagining the past? The case of 'Old Labour', 1979-94 - Eric Shaw 2 Leading the Labour Party in the 1980s - Martin Farr 3 Labour's liberalism: gay rights and video nasties - Paul Bloomfield 4 Responsible capitalism: Labour's industrial policy and the idea of a National Investment Bank during the long 1980s - Richard Carr PART II: The British Left in a global context 5 Neil Kinnock's perestroika: Labour and the Soviet influence - Jonathan Davis 6 The international context: end of an era - John Callaghan PART III: Currents of the Wider Left 7 Militant's laboratory: Liverpool City Council's struggle with the Thatcher government - Neil Pye 8 'Fill a Bag and Feed a Family': the miners' strike and its supporters - Maroula Joannou 9 'Race Today cannot fail': black radicalism in the long 1980s - Robin Bunce Index -- .