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September 13, 2012


Justin O'Connor

Thanks for this. I just read that book and, for my sins, Dominic Sandbrook's two (yes, two) books on the period. Andy Beckett's is far better, and not only because Sandbrook is right wing. I like Beckett's way of shuffling between present and past, and reflecting on it. Sandbrook's book is prefaced on the inevitability and desirability of Thatcher's revolution. What Beckett does is open up the question of the 1970s - in the sort of way you have used it - to show how far we have come, and to remind us of what 'class struggle' (if I may use that arcane term) actually did when linked to a coherent political and social movement. Beckett also points to the cultural shifts which I think were part of the collapse of that labour movement; Sandbrook simply dismisses this as mostly loony lefies and guardian reading 'idealists' (as he calls them). Worse, he reduced the pop cultural sturm and drang of the decade to a litany of who was number one when. ELO and Slade as a soundtrack to a pretty othodox political history.

Will Davies

Thanks, Justin. I've not come across Sandbrook's books, but on this advice, I think I'll steer well clear!


"The once-monetarist Bank of England has stood by and allowed the pound to fall by an astonishing 30%"

Does "monetarist" mean "in favour of hard money"? I thought it referred more to the belief that monetary policy is an effective tool for controlling economic activity.

Secondly, didn't the fall in the value of the pound come about in part due to very obvious actions of the Bank of England, namely QE? This doesn't really fit with the idea that the Bank "stood by and allowed" the pound to fall, when they took actions precisely to encourage this.

Dick Pountain

Will - there's a remarkable graphic illustrating the inversion you're describing in Stewart Lansley's "The Cost of Inequality", reproduced at http://dickpountain.blogspot.it/2012/09/all-downhill.html

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