Our sense of history shapes how we think about ourselves. 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.
Andrew Hindmoor argues that this history is wrong and self-harming. It is wrong because Britain has in many respects become a more politically attractive and progressive country over the last few decades. It is self-harming because this bleak history undermines faith in politics. Post-Brexit, post-Grenfell, and post the 2010, 2015, and 2017 general elections, things may not, right now, look that great. But looked at over the longer haul, Britain is a long way from being a posterchild for
neoliberalism. Left-wing ideas and arguments have shaped and continue to shape our politics.
Andrew Hindmoor is Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield. He grew up in Sheffield where he currently resides, and is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland. He is winner of the 2014 Harrison Prize for the best article in Political Studies and winner of the 2015 prize for the best article published in the British Journal of Politics and International Relations.
1: Introduction 2: Enter Neoliberalism... And It All Went Horribly Wrong 3: Bad Attitude? Public Opinion, the Left, and Neoliberalism 4: Alive and Kicking: What the State Does and why it has not Been Rolled-Back 5: Public Services: Health and Education 6: More and Less: Equality and Inequality in Britain 7: Keep Calm: On Growth, Austerity, and Happiness 8: The Unspectacular World of a Reasonably Well Functioning Democracy 9: Conclusion Notes Index