Labour’s dismal polling for today’s Hartlepool by-election show its awkward, flag-waving nationalism isn’t convincing anyone. Too bad Keir Starmer won’t stop playing on the Right’s terrain and start offering working-class voters real economic populism.
John Merrick is a London-based writer. He is currently working on his first book on class in contemporary Britain.
The last week has seen wall-to-wall praise for the royals across the British press, with Prince Philip painted as everything from a military genius to a trailblazing feminist. But the compulsory cap-doffing isn’t just a bit of ceremony inherited from the past — it’s part of a very modern deference to the wealthy and privileged.
The 1964 film Seven Up! asked 14 British seven-year-olds about their hopes of being the “shop steward and the executive of the year 2000.” Revisiting them every seven years for more than half a century, director Michael Apted made his interviewees into familiar faces — and shone a light on changing notions of class in Britain.
Historian Mike Davis wrote a book fifteen years ago warning of the coming global pandemic. The “monster at our door” has finally stepped through that door in COVID-19, and unfortunately, Davis was proven correct.