Britain has scarcely begun to come to terms with its recent upheavals, from the crisis over Brexit to the collapse of Labour’s ‘red wall’. What can explain such momentous shifts?
In this essential work, Tom Hazeldine excavates the history of a divided country: North and South, industry versus finance, Whitehall and the left-behind. Only by fully registering these deep-seated tensions, he argues, can we make sense of the present moment.
Hazeldine tracks the North-South divide over the longue durée, from the formation of an English state rooted in London and the south-east; the Industrial Revolution and the rise of provincial trade unions and the Labour party; the dashed hopes for regional economic renewal in the post-war years; the sharply contrasting fates of northern manufacturing and the City of London under Thatcher and New Labour; to the continuing repercussions of financial crisis and austerity.
The Northern Question is set to transform our understanding of the politics of Westminster – its purpose, according to Hazeldine, to stand English history on its head.