History, heritage and tradition in contemporary British politics

Past politics and present histories

By Emily Robinson

History, heritage and tradition in contemporary British politics


  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8631-1
  • Pages: 208
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £65.00
  • Published Date: January 2012
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Political parties, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties


History, heritage and tradition in contemporary British politics explores the use of the past in modern British politics. It examines party political perspectives on British history and the historical process and also looks at the ways in which memory is instituted within the parties in practice, through archives, written histories and commemorations. It focuses in particular on a number of explicit negotiations over historical narratives: the creation of the National Curriculum for History, Conservative attempts to re-assess their historical role in 1997, the assertion of a 'lost' social democratic tradition by the SDP and New Labour and the collapse of the Communist Party of Great Britain's narrative memory in 1988-91.
This book shows how history, heritage and tradition are used to present parliamentary politics as intrinsically 'historic' and suggests that the disappearance of active political pasts leaves contemporary politicians unable to speak of radically different futures.


Emily Robinson is an Advance Research Fellow in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham.


1 Ideology and temporality
2 Structures of memory: Parties and their pasts
3 Against the tide of history: Conservatism in the 1980s and 1990s
4 Negotiations with Labour's past: The SDP and New Labour
5 New times, new politics: The collapse of the CPGB's historical narrative

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