England: seven myths that changed a country – and how to set them straight

Hosted by the Department of Government

In-person and online public event (Old Theatre, Old Building)


Tom Baldwin

Tom Baldwin

Dr Marc Stears

Dr Marc Stears


Professor Tony Travers

Professor Tony Travers

Join us for a talk by Tom Baldwin and Marc Stears about their new book, England: Seven Myths That Changed a Country – and How to Set Them Straight.

In an election year, there will once again be efforts to over-inflate myths about England that block out the daylight needed in our politics. Some politicians will talk of restoring an English birthright of liberty or the swashbuckling self-confidence to rule the waves. Others will yearn for the old-fashioned morality with which, they claim, England once civilised a savage world. Still will more look inwards to a story of an enchanted island that can stand alone and isolated against the world. But England - written by Tom Baldwin, the best-selling author of Keir Starmer's biography, and Marc Stears, influential think tank head - unravels seven myths that have provided so much ammunition for charlatans or culture warriors from both left and right. Instead of vainly promising to solve everything all at once, Baldwin and Stears provide clues for how a humbler, less grandiose, set of ideas rooted in real lives can help fix some of the things that have gone so badly wrong in recent years.

Meet our speaker and chair

Tom Baldwin (@TomBaldwin66) is a political writer who worked in Westminster and Washington for The Times before becoming director of communications for the Labour Party. He is the author of several books and is the biographer of Keir Starmer.

Marc Stears (@mds49) is the inaugural Director of the UCL Policy Lab. Marc has previously been Director of the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney, CEO of the New Economics Foundation, Professor of political theory at the University of Oxford and chief speechwriter to the UK Labour Party. He is the author of several books from the world’s leading presses, including Out of the Ordinary

Tony Travers is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Government at LSE and Director of LSE London.

More about this event

This event will be available to watch on LSE Live. LSE Live is the new home for our live streams, allowing you to tune in and join the global debate at LSE, wherever you are in the world. If you can't attend live, a video will be made available shortly afterwards on LSE's YouTube channel.

The Department of Government (@LSEGovernment) is a world-leading centre for study and research in politics and government.

Hashtag for this event: #LSEEngland

Podcast & Video

A podcast of this event is available to download from England: seven myths that changed a country – and how to set them straight.

A video of this event is available to watch at England: seven myths that changed a country – and how to set them straight

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

LSE Blogs

Many speakers at LSE events also write for LSE Blogs, which present research and critical commentary accessibly for a public audience. Follow British Politics and Policy, the Business Review, the Impact BlogEuropean Politics and Policy and the LSE Review of Books to learn more about the debates our events series present.

Live captions

Automated live captions are available at this live event. Please note that this feature uses Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology, or machine generated transcription and is not 100% accurate.


Photographs taken on behalf of LSE are often used on our social media accounts, website and publications. At events, photographs could include broad shots of the audience and lecture theatre, of speakers during the talk, and of audience members as they participate in the Q&A.

If you are photographed participating in an event Q&A but would not like your photograph to be stored for future use, please contact


We aim to make all LSE events available as a podcast subject to receiving permission from the speaker/s to do this, and subject to no technical problems with the recording of the event. Podcasts are normally available 1 week after the event. Podcasts and videos of past events can be found online.

Social Media

Follow LSE public events on Twitter for notification on the availability of an event podcast, the posting of transcripts and videos, the announcement of new events and other important event updates. Event updates and other information about what’s happening at LSE can be found on the LSE's Facebook page and for live photos from events and around campus, follow us on Instagram. For live webcasts and archive video of lectures, follow us on YouTube

LSE in Pictures is a selection of images taken by the school photographer.


If you are planning to attend this event and would like details on how to get here and what time to arrive, as well as on accessibility and special requirements, please refer to LSE Events FAQ.  LSE aims to ensure that people have equal access to these public events, but please contact the events organiser as far as possible in advance if you have any access requirements so that arrangements, where possible, can be made. If the event is ticketed, please ensure you get in touch in advance of the ticket release date. Access Guides to all our venues can be viewed online.

WIFI Access

LSE has now introduced wireless for guests and visitors in association with 'The Cloud', also in use at many other locations across the UK. If you are on campus visiting for the day or attending a conference or event, you can connect your device to wireless. See more information and create an account at Join the Cloud.
Visitors from other participating institutions are encouraged to use eduroam. If you are having trouble connecting to eduroam, please contact your home institution for assistance.
The Cloud is only intended for guest and visitor access to wifi. Existing LSE staff and students are encouraged to use eduroam instead.
From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event.