Can One Nation Labour learn from the New Left?

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Spring 2013
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The early British New Left – a vibrant activist and intellectual current that flourished between 1956 and 1963 and whose brief lifespan encompassed the early careers of many of the most important British socialist intellectuals of the last half-century – has made an unexpected recent return to the political stage. In the ongoing discussion about ideological renewal within the British Labour Party, figures associated with the ‘Blue’ and latterly ‘One Nation’ Labour tendencies, particularly Jon Cruddas and his collaborator Jonathan Rutherford, have cited the ideas of prominent New Leftists, most often Edward Thompson and Raymond Williams, in support of their arguments for a politics that seeks to re-connect Labour traditions to English culture and society (Cruddas and Rutherford, 2010; Rutherford, 2011).

Renewal Vol 21 No 1