On 12th December 2019, the Left died. That at least was the view of much of Britain’s media and political establishment, who saw the electoral defeat of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party as the damning repudiation of everything it stood for. Yet, just over four years previously, the election of Corbyn as Labour leader seemed like a sea-change in politics: reanimating not just a party in apparently terminal decline but a country adrift, with a transformative vision based on a more just, more equal society and economy. In this book, Owen Jones explores how these ideas took hold, how they promised to change the nature of British politics – and how everything then went profoundly, catastrophically wrong.
The No.1 bestselling author of The Establishment returns with an urgent analysis of where the Left – and Britain – goes next
‘Very, very powerful’ James O’Brien
‘A whodunnit political page-turner’ Melissa Benn, New Statesman Books of the Year 2020
We live in an age of upheaval. The global crisis of Covid-19 has laid bare the deep social and economic inequalities which were the toxic legacy of austerity. These revolutionary times are an opportunity for a radical rethink of Britain as we know it, as the politically impossible suddenly becomes imaginable.
And yet, the Left’s last attempt to upend the established order and transform millions of lives came to a crashing halt on 12th December 2019, when Jeremy Corbyn led the Labour party to its worst electoral defeat since 1935. In This Land, Owen Jones provides an insider’s honest and unflinching appraisal of a movement: how it promised to change everything, why it went so badly wrong, where this failure leaves its values and ideas, and where the Left goes next in the new world we find ourselves in.
He takes us on a compelling, page-turning journey through a tumultuous decade in British politics, gaining unprecedented access to key figures across the political spectrum. It is a tale of high hopes and hubris, dysfunction and disillusionment. There is, Jones urges, no future for any progressive project that does not face up to and learn from its errors. We have the opportunity to build a fairer country and a more equal world, but if our time is to come, then we must learn from our past.