Radical Nostalgia

Alastair Bonnett argues that radical nostalgia has played a larger role in the formation of English socialism than Marxist historians – and New Labour – allow.

Nostalgia does not get a good press. Politicians seem to have a particular allergy to the condition. Outlining the New Labour project in 1997, Peter Mandelson helpfully explained ‘We are defining ourselves by the future’. It sounds almost plausible. After all, it is widely imagined that the past is done and dusted. It is the future most people worry about. Yet despite our apparent love affair with all things modern and forward-looking, nostalgia refuses to wither and die. A sense of loss permeates the contemporary cultural atmosphere. Indeed, it can sometimes seem as if the whole of Britain is in a state of mourning for its own past.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email digital@historytoday.com if you have any problems.