Nostalgia and the post-war Labour Party

Prisoners of the past

By Richard Jobson

Nostalgia and the post-war Labour Party


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1330-6
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: January 2018
  • BIC Category: Politics, Politics & government, Political parties, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Comparative Politics, Society & social sciences / Political parties


This book examines the impact that nostalgia has had on the Labour Party's political development since 1951. It argues that nostalgia has defined Labour's identity and determined the party's trajectory. Nostalgia has hindered policy discussion, determined the form and parameters of party modernisation, shaped internal conflict and cohesion and made it difficult for the party to adjust to socioeconomic changes. It has frequently left the party out of touch with the modern world. In this way, this study offers an assessment of Labour's failures to adapt to the changing nature of post-war Britain and will be of interest to both students and academics and to those with a more general interest in Labour's history and politics.


'Nostalgia and the Post-War Labour Party.provides a serious contribution to the understanding of struggles within the Labour Party and raises significant questions about how parties engage with their own past to their advantage and disadvantage and how the past informs and sometimes perhaps restricts current politics. Most importantly, it shows that nostalgia is not simply an issue for the right, for Brexit and Trump voters, but is a charge that the left too has to deal with.'
Tobias Becker, History Workshop Journal


Richard Jobson is Stipendiary Lecturer in Modern History at The Queen's College, University of Oxford


1. Introduction - Labour, nostalgia and 'nostalgia-identity'
2. Revisionism and the battle over clause IV - 1951-63
3. White heat and the Labour party 1963-70
4. Labour's alternative economic strategy 1970-83
5. Reinventing the Labour party 1983-92
6. The New Labour era 1992-2010
7. Back to the past? 2010 to the present
8. Conclusion