Martin Pugh

Speak for Britain!
  • Speak for Britain!

  • 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.

Martin Pugh was Professor of Modern British History at Newcastle University until 1999, and Research Professor in History at Liverpool John Moores University from 1999 to 2002. He has written ten books on aspects of nineteenth and twentieth century history and is on the board of BBC History Magazine. He is currently writing a social history of Britain between the wars for Cape and Pimlico.