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Utopia Limited

David Cannadine, 15 July 1982

Fabianism and Culture: A Study in British Socialism and the Arts, 1884-1918 
by Ian Britain.
Cambridge, 344 pp., £19.50, June 1982, 0 521 23563 4
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The Elmhirsts of Dartington: The Creation of an Utopian Community 
by Michael Young.
Routledge, 381 pp., £15, June 1982, 9780710090515
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... the biggest prig of all. When trying to adapt socialism to the affluent society of the late 1950s, Anthony Crosland had little time for this puritanical earnestness: ‘Total abstinence,’ he observed, ‘and a good filing system are not now the right signposts to the socialist Utopia.’ In at least two ways, however, ...

Pop your own abscess

Rory Scothorne: Definitions of Poverty, 22 February 2018

The New Poverty 
by Stephen Armstrong.
Verso, 242 pp., £12.99, October 2017, 978 1 78663 463 4
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Poverty Safari 
by Darren McGarvey.
Luath, 244 pp., £7.99, November 2017, 978 1 912147 03 8
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... as an unjustifiable absence, of spiritual and aesthetic as well as material resources. In 1956, Anthony Crosland called for socialism with ‘more open-air cafes’ and ‘better designed telephone kiosks’ at its heart; Fully Automated Luxury Communism, which promises universal abundance and leisure, enabled by an army of robot labourers under human ...

Don’t Look Down

Nicholas Spice: Dull Britannia, 8 April 2010

Family Britain 1951-57 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 776 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 0 7475 8385 1
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... result that nothing was done. As the Labour Party’s leading intellectuals, Hugh Gaitskell and Anthony Crosland understood how pivotal private education was to the problem of power in the Britain of the 1950s. Gaitskell told the Labour Party Conference in 1953 that the system could not continue, and in The Future of Socialism ...

An Element of Unfairness

Ross McKibbin: The Great Education Disaster, 3 July 2008

... argument that the bipartite structure worked against the majority of working-class children. After Anthony Crosland, the education secretary, asked LEAs to plan for a move towards a comprehensive system in 1965, the number of comprehensive schools rapidly increased (especially when Thatcher was education secretary in the early 1970s). Although LEAs were ...

Late Developer

Paul Foot, 22 February 1990

Against the Tide: Diaries 1973-1976 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 512 pp., £20, October 1989, 0 09 173775 3
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... for £1199.25 million in 1977, which was nearly £200m over the billion proposed by the IMF. Crosland pointed this out but Denis said that confidence had been undermined by leaks and therefore we’d have to make more cuts in public expenditure to prevent further loss of confidence.’ Hospitals, schools, social security ...

Le Roi Jean Quinze

Stefan Collini: Roy Jenkins and Labour, 5 June 2014

Roy Jenkins: A Well-Rounded Life 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 818 pp., £30, March 2014, 978 0 224 08750 6
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... failed to be elected president. The most important figure in his Oxford years was the dashing Tony Crosland, two years older, with whom he had a passionate relationship for a while, and with whom he maintained a close and at times rivalrous friendship until the latter’s early death in 1977. Crosland was the more obviously ...


Denis Donoghue, 2 February 1984

Towards 2000 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 273 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780701126858
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Writing in Society 
by Raymond Williams.
Verso, 268 pp., £18.50, December 1983, 0 86091 072 5
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Radical Earnestness: English Social Theory 1880-1980 
by Fred Inglis.
Martin Robertson, 253 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 85520 328 5
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... T.H. Green, John Maynard Keynes, R.G. Collingwood, F.R. Leavis, George Orwell, Adrian Stokes, Tony Crosland – as he calls him – Richard Titmuss, Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, John Berger, E.P. Thompson and Isaiah Berlin. If you need a stereotype of the English socialist, you may as well take this one as any other, though it’s hard to do any ...


Stefan Collini, 6 November 2003

The Future of Higher Education 
Stationery Office, 112 pp., £17.50, January 2003, 0 10 157352 9Show More
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... opened its doors in 1961 – the Robbins Committee didn’t report until 1963. Two years later, Anthony Crosland, then Secretary of State for Education, enunciated what became known as the ‘binary principle’, according to which two different but parallel types of higher education were to be developed, the traditional kind in universities and a more ...


David Runciman: Thatcher’s Rise, 6 June 2013

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography. Vol. I: Not for Turning 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 859 pp., £30, April 2013, 978 0 7139 9282 3
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... minister the candidates lined up to replace him included Jim Callaghan, Roy Jenkins, Tony Benn, Anthony Crosland, Michael Foot and Denis Healey. It was, by any historical standards, an impressive cast list. The Parliamentary Labour Party made the right choice in plumping for Callaghan over the initial favourite, Healey, and the surprise early ...

The Stansgate Tapes

John Turner, 8 December 1994

Years of Hope: Diaries, Papers and Letters, 1940-62 
by Tony Benn, edited by Ruth Winstone.
Hutchinson, 442 pp., £25, September 1994, 0 09 178534 0
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... The Benn family were publishers (like the Macmillan family, though not quite as rich), and young Anthony (known at this point as James) grew up amid commercial and political affluence. He was sent to Westminster, where he was ‘miserable’, and which is recorded in these pages largely as a venue for scarlet fever and a host for the Air Training Corps. Much ...

What would socialism be like?

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 1 March 1984

In the Tracks of Historical Materialism 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 112 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 86091 776 2
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The Dialectics of Disaster 
by Ronald Aronson.
Verso, 329 pp., £5.95, February 1984, 9780860910756
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Rethinking Socialism 
by Gavin Kitching.
Methuen, 178 pp., £3.95, October 1983, 0 416 35840 3
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The Economics of Feasible Socialism 
by Alec Nove.
Allen and Unwin, 244 pp., £12.95, February 1983, 0 04 335048 8
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The Labour Party in Crisis 
by Paul Whiteley.
Methuen, 253 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 416 33860 7
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... predicated, at least in Marx, on an entirely implausible ontology. The more modest proposals, like Anthony Crosland’s, for instance, in The Future of Socialism in 1956, are more or less orderly bricolages of ideas from elsewhere: of the community of goods, or charity, or natural rights, or one or another kind of equality or substantive liberty. ...


Owen Hatherley: Nye Bevan, 7 May 2015

Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan 
by Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds.
I.B. Tauris, 316 pp., £25, October 2014, 978 1 78076 209 8
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... movement. It’s usual to oppose Bevan’s statement of principles, In Place of Fear (1952), to Anthony Crosland’s The Future of Socialism (1956) as contrasting visions of postwar social democracy. Crosland has been recognised as a proto-Blairite, but it is Bevan’s insistence on the ultimately unreformed nature ...

Third Way, Old Hat

Ross McKibbin: Amnesia at the Top, 3 September 1998

... which differed even more from Ramsay MacDonald’s. And so on. We could argue, indeed, that Tony Crosland’s The Future of Socialism presented as much of a challenge to the ideological status quo within the Labour Party as the proponents of New Labour have done; yet Crosland never imagined that he was re-creating the ...

Did more mean worse?

Michael Brock, 23 October 1986

Government and the Universities in Britain: Programme and Performance 1960-1980 
by John Carswell.
Cambridge, 181 pp., £19.50, January 1986, 9780521258265
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... independent schools. Dame Kitty Anderson had presided over North London Collegiate since 1944; Anthony Chenevix-Trench moved from Brad-field to Eton while the Committee was operating. ‘His contributions,’ as Mr Carswell tells us, ‘were few.’ There was no voice on the Committee from teachers in the local authority schools, let alone from the new ...

Off with her head

John Lloyd, 24 November 1988

Office without Power: Diaries 1968-72 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 562 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 09 173647 1
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... It is not hard to guess what this hard-boiled gathering – Bob Mellish, Denis Healey, Tony Crosland, Barbara Castle, Roy Jenkins, Jim Callaghan among them – made of that. Fifteen years later, Benn showed me his father’s election handbill and made the same point – one he must have made to hundreds of others. Where Thatcher rose up the English ...

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