The Struggle for Labour's Soul: Understanding Labour's Political Thought Since 1945, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Struggle for Labour's Soul

Understanding Labour's Political Thought Since 1945, 2nd Edition

Edited by Matt Beech, Kevin Hickson, Raymond Plant


218 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138047372
pub: 2018-06-26
SAVE ~$7.99
Hardback: 9781138047358
pub: 2018-06-13
SAVE ~$30.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315170848
pub: 2018-06-14
from $19.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


The election of the most left-wing Labour Party Leader since 1945, followed by the Party's third consecutive general election defeat and the ongoing cultural divisions around Brexit present an ideal opportunity for a thorough re-evaluation of the state of the Party within its broader ideological and historical context.

This second edition of this highly respected book analyses the current developments and places them in their historical setting through a clear three-part framework of Ideological Positions, Struggles and Commentaries.

Thoroughly updated and featuring contributions by leading academics and politicians, it continues to represent one of the most ground-breaking and thorough analyses of Labour's political thought in a generation and will be of key interest to scholars, students and observers of British Politics, British History, Party Politics, and the Labour Party.


"…I hope this updated edition of The Struggle for Labour’s Soul will shed a greater light on the debates in, on, and around the Labour Party and our future." - Dame Margaret Beckett MP

"The book weaves together beautifully the plethora of ideas, personalities, social forces, and political traditions that have shaped the modern Labour Party."Frank Field MP

Table of Contents

Foreword [Dame Margaret Beckett MP]

Introduction [Matt Beech, Kevin Hickson and Raymond Plant]

Part I: Positions 

1. The Old Left [Kevin Hickson]

2. Labour’s New Left: Then and Now [David Coates]

3. The Centre [Mark Garnett]

4. The Old Right [Kevin Jefferys]

5. The Progressives [Matt Beech]

Part II: Struggles  

6. Culture and Character [Jeremy Nuttall]

7. Social Class [Emmanuelle Avril]

8. Gender Politics [Vicky Randall]

9. Political Economy [Noel Thompson and Gavin Thompson]

10. Sovereignty and the State [Jasper Miles]

11. European Integration [Helen Parr]

12. Defence [Timothy J. Oliver]

Part III: Commentaries

13. The Old Left: The Bevanites [Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds MP]

14. The New Left: Daring to be a Daniel [Alan Simpson] 

15. The Centre: The Need for Unity [Andy Burnham]

16. The Old Right: Promoting Growth and Tackling Globalisation [Lord Peter Hain of Neath]

17. New Labour [Dame Margaret Hodge MP]

About the Editors

Matt Beech is Reader in Politics and founding Director of the Centre for British Politics at the University of Hull, UK. He is Senior Fellow in the Institute of European Studies at UC Berkeley and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Kevin Hickson is Senior Lecturer in British Politics at the University of Liverpool, UK. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Raymond Plant has been a Labour Peer since 1992 and was Master of St. Catherine's College, Oxford between 1994 and 2000. He has also held professorial appointments at King's College London and the University of Southampton, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in British Politics

This series aims to engage experts in the fields of UK politics, political history and public policy-making whilst addressing a wide array of political dynamics, contexts, histories and ideas. Many of the current major political trends and issues - such as the long-term impact of Brexit, the implications of political disenchantment, the surge in party membership, growing constitutional strains on the UK, and the unbalanced nature of formal political participation in terms of class, gender and ethnicity - are major challenges to political elites.

The series will retain a particular focus on British government, British politics and public policy, while locating those issues within a European and global context. Its will aim to:

  • Promote research excellence with regards to British politics, including interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Disseminate relevant knowledge widely.
  • Engage and inform the public debate about the nature of British politics.
  • Contribute towards the development of public policy.
  • Stimulate innovation in teaching and research.

The series will initially focus on five core areas: 

  • Political thought and ideology: the dynamics of ideological change within and outside political parties; mapping the interplay of ideology and policy; debating different ideological traditions in British politics; and considering the impact of new forms of critical political thought
  • British party politics: how different parties in British politics are responding to new electoral, organizational and policy challenges.
  • Remodelling the UK polity: (De)Europeanization, devolution, and multi-level governance are promoting new national projects while delegating and dispersing powers from the centre through a ‘new localism’.
  • Managing the public household: including regulation, industrial policy, the economics of austerity, and politics beyond the crisis.  
  • Society and State: citizen-focused public policy, digital politics, the relationship between parliament and citizens, the politics of gender, civic participation, populism, immigration and culture, declining public trust, and the politics of public expectations.

For guidance on how to structure your proposal, please visit:

Book proposals should be sent to the series editors:

Series editors:

Patrick Diamond, Queen Mary University, London

Tim Bale, Queen Mary University, London



Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Leadership