Modern Britain in Crisis

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

This paper provides an overview of my current research project- a book-length study of modern Britain in crisis. The paper begins with a brief definition of the term crisis. It then presents the argument that Britain has suffered from a chronic and interlinked set of crises - political, socio-economic, ideological and cultural in character- since the financial crash of 2007-8. The chaos of Brexit is the most recent manifestation of crisis.

I then consider the underpinnings of these crises and highlight the contrasting ways in which the major mainstream political institutions- the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party- have viewed them and what their attitudes to the EU and Brexit reveal about their notions of national identity and 'liberation'. 
The Conclusion explores possible ways out of the current crisis and asks participants to consider  Australian and other external perspectives on the British situation.

Neville Kirk, Emeritus Professor of Social and Labour History, has published widely in the fields of modern British history, comparative British, US and Australasian labour history and transnational history. His most recent publication is Transnational Radicalism and the Connected Lives of Tom Mann and Robert Samuel Ross (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2017).