Red Flag and Union Jack

Red Flag and Union Jack

Englishness, Patriotism and the British Left, 1881-1924

Paul Ward

Examines the relationship between the British left and national identity in socialism's formative years.
It is generally assumed that the language of patriotism and national identity belongs to the political right, but the emergence of socialism in the 1880s shows clearly that the left also drew on such ideas in its formative years to legitimate a particular form of socialism, one presented as a restoration of an English past lost to industrial capitalism. The First World War dealt a severe blow to this radical patriotism: though the anti-war left continued to use radical patriotic language in the early years, the war degraded patriotism generally, while the Russian Revolution gave internationalism a new focus, and also threatened the dominant concept of British socialism. Moderate Labour sought to prove their fitness to govern, and concentrated on the `national interest' rather than oppositional Englishness, while the left of the movement looked to Soviet Russia rather than the English past for models for a future socialist society.

Paul Ward teaches at the School of Music, Humanities and Media, University of Huddersfield.


Fine study of the development of British socialist ideas between 1881 and 1924... Ideas mattered within the House of Labour, but the ideas behind Labour politics had more to do with the nation than with the working class. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW
Deserves to become required reading for all those who are interested in British politics, the British left, and nationalism and internationalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. ARCHIVES
Lucid and compelling... historians of the left have a great deal to learn from [this book]. ALBION
An excellent book. 20TH CENTURY BRITISH HISTORY It is a strength of this book that it provides a great deal of fascinating documentary detail. HISTORY

Also in Series