Socialism with a Northern Accent

Radical traditions for modern times


ISBN: 9781907103391 Categories: ,

Format: Paperback

Publication date: January 1, 2012

Page extent: 224

Out of stock

This account explores the strength and distinctiveness of the socialism that emerged in nineteenth-century northern England, arguing that popular socialism today needs to reconnect with its local and regional roots.

The socialist tradition in Britain is diverse and multi-layered. In this new book – so much more than a work of history – Paul Salveson examines the socialism of the the mills, mines and railway yards of the North of England. In a complex analysis, he argues that the left needs to relocate power to the regions and that in reconnecting with local radical traditions, Labour could find valuable resources for its renewal.

Salveson discusses the rise of the Independent Labour Party, formed in Bradford in 1893; its emphasis was different to that of metropolitan-based parties, instead relying on ethical values, community and culture; decentralist and democratic rather than centralist and authoritarian. And, as the book also documents, a number of outstanding women – including Katharine Bruce Glasier, Sarah Reddish and Enid Stacy – played a central role in its campaigning.

Salveson reminds us of the role of working-class writers such as Allen Clarke, who converted thousands of his readers to socialism ‘by making them laugh’, and of the Clarion cycling clubs, which introduced a generation of working men and women to a new, fun and recreational, kind of politics. He also shows how the co-operative movement and the trade unions, helped to shape a durable and independent working-class culture.

Foreword by John Prescott
Part I The Heroic Age of Northern Socialism
1. Democratic Struggles: Peterloo and Chartism
2. Between Chartism and Socialism
3. The New Party in the North
4. A Northern Socialist Culture
Part 2 Centralism Triumphant?
5. Between Communism and Labourism?
6. The High Tide of Social Democracy
7. Thatcher, Blair and the Regions
Part 3 The North resurgent
8. Radical Regionalism: Will the North rise again?
Northern Socialist Network

Timelines: A Northern Chronology
Select Bibliography

“there is no more relevant source for the renewal of today’s Labour Party in its orientation towards bringing energy and life back to the regions of England … a very important contribution to the debate on how Labour can renew itself as a national party with roots in working communities throughout the country.”

Maurice Glasman

“As the recession bites, is a new kind of northern politics emerging?”

Ian Jack, The Guardian


“a vital historical study that gives a powerful sense of the sheer idiosyncrasy of the northern socialist heritage at a key moment”

Alex Niven, New Left Project


“Paul Salveson’s survey of socialism in the north of England has been widely praised – and rightly so.”

Karl Dallas, Morning Star


“Northern Soul: for Salveson, tradition can be a resource in negotiating the challenges we face in a modern, diverse Britain in the 21st century. It is a potential source of strength”

Michael Calderbank, Red Pepper