Month: July 2016

From Powell to Brexit: My interview with the Weekly Worker on ‘race’, anti-racism and the British left

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This week, the CPGB’s Weekly Worker (see here for more info on its background) conducted an interview with me about my forthcoming book, British Communism and the Politics of Race, as well as on my research in general and the anti-racist movement in Britain since the 1960s. You can read the full interview here. It was an interesting experience and some challenging questions!

New policy paper at History & Policy: Brexit and the history of policing the Irish border

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This is just a quick note to let you all know that History and Policy have just published a policy paper by me on the history of policing the Irish border and the possible impact of Brexit upon how this border operates. It is based on this earlier blog post.

Pre-order PB version of ‘Against the Grain’ now and get 50% off

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This is just a quick post to let people know that you can pre-order the paperback version of our edited collection on the British far left, Against the Grain: The British Far Left from 1956, directly from Manchester University Press (to be published in December).

Furthermore, if you pre-order now, you can take advantage of Manchester University Press’ summer sale and get the book for 50% off (that is £9 plus postage!). When ordering the book, use the promo code ‘SUMMER16’.

Unfortunately this offer is for UK and Europe only.

EDIT: Australian people interested in pre-ordering the book can do so via Book Depository. At the moment, you can order the book for $28 with free shipping. Order here.

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Theresa May and UKIP: A repeat of Thatcher and the NF in ’79?

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While everyone is falling over themselves to make analogies between the Labour Party of the 1980s and that of today under Corbyn (or stressing that it’s not a repeat of that decade), we are also in danger of seeing Theresa May’s time (however long) as Prime Minister through the prism of Margaret Thatcher.

In the post-Brexit world, nothing can be taken for granted anymore when it comes to British politics, so any predictions are fraught with error and future embarrassment. With that, despite the prediction by Norman Tebbit that ‘May will drive Tory members into the arms of UKIP’, I am thinking that Theresa May becoming Prime Minister will split the post-Farage UKIP. While Brexit has not been ensured, UKIP’s most prominent policy has been, more or less, achieved, and in the past, single issue groups have struggled to change their message/strategy once their primary objective has been fulfilled or become irrelevant. Coupled with Farage leaving the leadership spot, UKIP look rudderless and will now try to siphon off the anti-immigration vote from both Labour and the Tories as they will probably re-fashion themselves as the ‘sensible’ anti-immigration party – to the right of the Tories but not associated with fascism of Britain First or the British National Party.

This might continue to be a problem for Labour, but May’s record as Home Secretary and her continued ‘tough’ talk on immigration may attract the ‘soft’ UKIP vote back to the Tories. While Cameron was seen as ‘weak’ on controlling immigration, the Home Office under May made the rules incredibly more difficult for non-EEA migrants and their families (and her comments on the future of EU migrants in the UK have not calmed the fears of many). Some UKIP supporters will think that May has not done enough, but many might be swayed by her track record and ‘effort’ in trying to restrict immigration from the EU and the rest of the world.

This is where the Thatcher comparison comes in. Thatcher’s public pronouncements on immigration in the late 1970s helped make her look ‘tough’ on the issue, particularly her comment in 1978 that people were feeling ‘rather swamped’ by Commonwealth migration. Furthermore, the Conservative Party manifesto for the 1979 election announced that the Tories would introduce ‘firm immigration control’ that would ‘end persistent fears about levels of immigration’. After this, the Tories were able to attract a significant number of voters who might’ve voted for the National Front previously and the NF’s vote was greatly diminished at the 1979 election.*

While I am sceptical about making too closer historical comparisons between May and Thatcher, it is plausible that May’s rhetoric might drive a similar wedge between those who waver between UKIP and the Tories, and those who are ‘rusted on’ UKIP supporters. If a snap election is called, this is certain a possibility. Otherwise, it will depend whether new Home Secretary Amber Rudd follows May’s hardline approach to immigration.

Books for sale/swap

Clearing out the clutter, here are some books that are for sale (or swap). Postage is from Australia. More might be added to the list soon. Apologies for lack of alphabetical order.

Seamus Milne – The Enemy Within: The Secret War Against the Miners (Verso, 2014)
Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau & Slavoj Zizek – Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left (Verso, 2000)
Andrew Byrnes, Hilary Charlesworth & Gabrille McKinnon – Bills of Rights in Australia; History, Politics and Law (UNSW Press, 2009)
Mark Monmonier – No Dig, No Fly, No Go: How Maps Restrict and Control (University of Chiacgo Press, 2010)
Mary Kaldor – Human Security (Polity, 2011)
Peter Davies & Derek Lynch – The Routledge Companion to Fascism and the Far Right (Routledge, 2002)
Ben Macintyre – Agent Zigzag: The Most Notorious Double Agent of World War II (Bloomsbury, 2010)
Bob Jessop – Nicos Poulantzas: Marxist Theory and Political Strategy (Macmillan, 1985)
Sheila Rowbotham – Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century (Verso, 2011)
Ann Laura Stoler (ed) – Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination (Duke University Press, 2013)
Iain McCalman & Ann McGrath – Proof and Truth: The Humanist as Expert (Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2003)
Slavoj Zizek – Violence (Profile, 2008)
Noel O Sullivan – Fascism (J.M. Dent, 1983)
Geoffrey Robinson – The Tyrannicide Brief (Vintage, 2006)

No set prices, make me an offer. Send me an email (evan.smith@flinders.edu.au or hatfulofhistory@gmail.com) if interested.

New edited book on 2011 UK riots: ‘Reading the Riot Act’

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In 2013, the Journal for Cultural Research published a special issue dedicated to the UK riots of 2011, edited by Rupa Huq. This featured an article by myself on looking at the 2011 riots through the lens of 1981. Routledge has now published this special issue as an edited collection, available here in hardback. Alongside my article/chapter, the collection also features contributions by John Hutnyk, Gargi Bhattacharyya and Caroline Rooney (amongst others). Order it now for your university or institutional library!