‘Keeping the Red Flag Flying’ – researchers put Labour Party under the microscope

The book front cover with a blue sky, fluffy clouds and a red flag flying

Experienced political historians from Lancaster University have examined Labour’s time in opposition since 1922 and show how the party’s time outside government has led to frustration but also creation.

The recently published book ‘Keeping the Red Flag Flying: The Labour Party in Opposition since 1922’ is written by Dr Mark Garnett and Dr Gavin Hyman, from Lancaster University, together with Dr Richard Johnson, formerly at Lancaster University and now at Queen Mary, University of London.

Media attention has been lavished on governments, and opposition parties have mainly been left in the shade.

But in the 100 years since it first became the official party of opposition, Labour has spent only about a third of those years in government, which makes an examination of its time in opposition all the more pertinent.

Relieved of the task of governance, the party has had plenty of time to engage in self-examination, institutional preparation and policy formation.

The book examines the Labour Party’s time in opposition and looks at how the party determines its goals, how it prepares for the task of governance and the ways in which it seeks to change society?

It questions if Labour themselves changed and if they have succeeded in making the party electable again or if they are now too dependent on disillusionment with the current government, even failing to reach settled, coherent positions on monumental issues like austerity and Brexit.

Dr Garnett added: “I enjoyed the opportunity to write a book with two of my best friends. Hopefully some of that enjoyment comes across in the book, which fills an important gap in the Labour Party literature.

“Apart from its obvious topical interest, it will be particularly useful to Sir Keir Starmer's successor when the party gets its next chance to savour the fruits of Opposition.”

Mark Garnett is Senior Lecturer of Politics at Lancaster University. He has written numerous books on UK politics, including The British Prime Minister in an Age of Upheaval.

Gavin Hyman is Senior Lecturer of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University. A specialist in continental philosophy and religious thought, he also teaches on socialist thought in Britain.

Richard Johnson is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Queen Mary, University of London. He has published widely on the history of the Labour party.

For more information about the book: Wiley-VCH - Keeping the Red Flag Flying

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