The Left Behind

James Morrison


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Pluto Press
20 August 2022
ISBN: 9780745344621
304 pages

From the publisher

'The Left Behind' is a defining motif of contemporary British political discourse. It is the thread that knits together the 2016 Brexit referendum, the crumbling of the fabled 'Red Wall' in the North, and the pernicious culture war being waged today. But who are the Left Behind? James Morrison goes in search of the reality behind the rhetoric, offering the first comprehensive, historical analysis of the origins, uses and meanings of the term. He interrogates the popular archetype of the Left Behind - as a working class, leave-voting white male from a former industrial heartland - and situates the concept in the context of longstanding, demonising discourses aimed at communities seen as backward and 'undeserving'. Analysing national newspaper coverage and parliamentary discussions, and drawing on interviews with MPs, community leaders, charities and people with direct lived experiences of poverty and precarity, The Left Behind grapples with the real human cost of austerity for neglected post-industrial communities and other marginalised groups across the world, and the stigmatising discourse that does little to serve them.