WALKING BACK TO HAPPINESS
Harold Wilson was launched into the spotlight as the darling of Labour’s modern left in the leadership election of 1960, challenging Gaitskell and making himself the de facto leader of the Labour Left. His was the promise of a modernising party, committed to shaping Britain into a progressive and technocratic nation, and this promise would be put to the test when he became Prime Minister in 1964. Sadly, it was a test he did not pass and the failures of his government set Britain upon a path of industrial stagnation, social democratic malaise, and the ultimate dominance of the right in British politics.
But, what if Wilson never entered the 1960 leadership contest? What if the original candidate of the left in 1960 took Wilson’s place in British history? In Walking Back To Happiness, Liam Baker imagines a Britain without the false promises of Harold Wilson and the stagnation of Labour’s technocracy. Instead, Wilson is replaced by someone far more radical in his politics and far more telegenic as a personality. In this timeline, the received wisdom of British politics – where radical means unelectable and democratic socialism is doomed to fail – is turned on its head as the Labour Left becomes the party establishment and Britain’s small-c conservatism is shaken by continuous social upheaval.