Speak for Britain!
A New History of the Labour Party
An original and challenging interpretation of the Labour Party's evolution.
Written at a critical juncture in the history of the Labour Party, Speak for Britain! is a thought-provoking and highly original interpretation of the party's evolution, from its trade union origins to its status as a national governing party. It charts Labour's rise to power by re-examining the impact of the First World War, the general strike of 1926, Labour's breakthrough at the 1945 general election, the influence of post-war affluence and consumerism on the fortunes and character of the party, and its revival after the defeats of the Thatcher era.
Controversially, Pugh argues that Labour never entirely succeeded in becoming 'the party of the working class'; many of its influential recruits - from Oswald Mosley to Hugh Gaitskell to Tony Blair - were from middle and upper-class Conservative backgrounds and rather than converting the working class to socialism, Labour adapted itself to local and regional political cultures.
Praise for Speak for Britain!
Timely book... colourful, frequently entertainingDaily Telegraph
Stimulating surveyKenneth O'Morgan, Literary Review
Worth it for serious studentsAnn Treneman, The Times
Solid and lasting...thoroughly resourced and researchedAnthony Howard, Sunday Telegraph
Excellent and provocative new historyJohn Campbell, Mail on Sunday
Pugh's Historiography is exceptionally broad and deepTimes Literary Supplement
Overall the book is... spliced with incisive arguments and interspersed with challenging verdicts on Labour's evolution...This ambitious Labour history could well become compulsory reading for future party leaders.John Shepherd, History Today
...the result is the most provocative and clear-eyed history of the party yet.. It is a tribute to Pugh's scholarship that almost everybody will learn something new from this thoughtful book.Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times