Turnings taken and not taken on the road to Britain's 1945
Ken Loach's film The Spirit of 1945 is taken as a starting point for a reflection on how this high point in left history came about. Loach sees 1945 as a bubble, a distinct 'moment', something separate from the long traditions of the left that preceded it. This is unhelpful to those seeking to recreate such breakthroughs since it offers no understanding of where it came from: in fact it was the product of longer histories of activism, which need to be studied and recalled to better understand how such watershed moments in history are actively made. A more common problem in the telling of this history, however, is the idea that 1945, and the particular form of Labourism that it embodied, were the inevitable result of all that had gone before. This overlooks the alternative possibilities that might have emerged from the maelstrom of the interwar labour movement. 1945 thus also represents the consolidation of Labour's settled role as part of the political fabric and tradition of the British way of politics.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2013-07-22
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