Reading list

Things can only get wetter: Verso General Election Reading

Books to understand the British political landscape in the run-up to the 2024 UK General Election.

29 May 2024

Things can only get wetter: Verso General Election Reading

On 22nd May, a rain-soaked Rishi Sunak announced that the UK will hold a General Election while being drowned out by ‘Things Can Only Get Better’, a throwback to the Blair years.

In the run up to the General Election, these books will allow you to better understand the collapse of the Tories, the Labour Party’s journey to the right, and how we can build radical futures in the face of despair.

Plus, On Friday July 26th you can join Jeremy Corbyn MP and Laleh Khalili for a live episode of The Verso Podcast where they’ll be discussing what we can learn from the global movement against the war on Palestine, how we can counteract the global rise of the far right, and the future of international politics! Get tickets here.

The Chaos of the Conservatives

Whatever happened to the Tory party? How do they employ the powers of the state to rewrite history in their image? And how will they face their current existential crisis?

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The British Left

Is socialism possible in Britain? What can we learn from the Corbyn years for the future of Left politics? And what might a Starmer led Labour government have in store?

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Broken Britain

Where has austerity, Brexit, and the cost of living crisis left the nation in terms of inequality, housing, welfare, migrants’ rights, and policing?

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British Democracy

How was the right to vote won, and how has it been undermined? Is the BBC the mouthpiece of the Establishment? And why has the populist far-right become mainstream?

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The Divisions of Britain

Examining the fissures across the UK from the north-south divide, to the question of Scottish independence, and the future of Northern Ireland. 

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Bloody Panico!
The most successful political party in history?The Tory Party has been in power for eighty-five of the past 135 years. In 2019 they won their largest parliamentary majority in more than three decad...
The Party's Over
Today, it is not a question of if, but when? What we are watching is the collapse of the most successful political party in Europe. Despite winning the December 2019 General Election, the parliamen...
The Hard Road to Renewal
Stuart Hall was one of the most insightful and incisive critics of the Thatcher era. In this essential selection of his essays during the period, he elaborates both how Thatcher's rise to power exp...
Monumental Lies
The past is weaponised in culture wars and cynically edited by those who wish to impose their ideology upon the physical spaces around us. Holocaust deniers use details of the ruins of the gas cha...
The Starmer Project
Hailed as a human-rights champion and political outsider, what sort of politician is Keir Starmer really, and what mark is he making on the new politics of Labour? In The Starmer Project, Oliver Ea...
Our Bloc
In Our Bloc, Momentum co-founder James Schneider lays out an action plan for the British left. To move from defeatism to renewed confidence, he proposes a Left Bloc: an explicit alliance of sociali...
Is Socialism Possible in Britain?
Selected as one of the 15 best political and current affairs books of 2022 by The TimesIs Socialism Possible in Britain? analyses Jeremy Corbyn's tenure as Labour leader and the prospects for parli...
Searching for Socialism
Jeremy Corbyn’s rapid ascent to the leadership of the Labour Party, driven by a groundswell of popular support particularly among the young, was met at the time by a baffled media. Just where did J...
There has been an explosion of organising among workers many assumed to be unorganisable, from delivery drivers in London to tech workers in Silicon Valley. The culmination of years of conversation...
Shattered Nation
Britain was once the leading economy in Europe; it is now the most unequal. In Shattered Nation, leading geographer and author of Inequality and the 1% shows that we are growing further and further...
Against Landlords
Housing means prosperity and security for some; poverty, precarity and sickness for others. More people live in private rented accommodation than ever before, and rents rise without apparent reason...
Charged is an essential investigation into the role of policing protest in Britain today. As the UK government tries to suppress all forms of dissent, in their pursuit of more control, how do the p...
In modern Britain, the working class has become an object of fear and ridicule. From Little Britain's Vicky Pollard to the demonization of Jade Goody, media and politicians alike dismiss as feckles...
In austerity Britain, disabled people have been recast as worthless scroungers. From social care to the benefits system, politicians and the media alike have made the case that Britain’s 12 milli...
Hostile Environment
Longlisted for the 2019 Jhalak Prize. From the 1960s the UK’s immigration policy - introduced by both Labour and Tory governments - has been a toxic combination of racism and xenophobia. Maya Good...
The Vote
The culmination of a lifetime’s work by the celebrated journalist and historian Paul Foot, The Vote tells the thrilling story of how the universal franchise was secured in Britain, and the slow ero...
The BBC is one of the most important institutions in Britain; it is also one of the most misunderstood. Despite its claim to be independent and impartial, and the constant accusations of a libera...
Reactionary Democracy
Democracy is not necessarily progressive, and will only be if we make it so. What Mondon and Winter call ‘reactionary democracy’ is the use of the concept of democracy and its associated understand...
The Break-Up of Britain

The Break-Up of Britain

In this classic text, first published in 1977, Tom Nairn memorably depicts the ‘slow foundering’ of the United Kingdom on the rocks of imperial decline, constitutional anachronism and the gathering...
The Northern Question
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 w...
The Shadow of the Mine
The Shadow of the Mine tells the story of King Coal in its heyday, the heroics and betrayals of the Miners’ Strike, and what happened to mining communities after the last pits closed.No one personi...
Scotland After Britain
Since the referendum, Scottish independence has been captured by conservative forces. Scotland After Britain argues for fidelity to the true meaning of the word independence. It should mean not onl...
The Twilight of Unionism
The fissures that have split the United Kingdom in the last decades have run through Northern Ireland. Since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the fragile peace has been threatened by Brexit, the ris...