The Strange Survival of Liberal Britain

Hosted by the School of Public Policy

Online and in-person public event (MAR.2.08, Marshall Building)


Vernon Bogdanor

Vernon Bogdanor

Professor, King's College London

Polly Mackenzie

Polly Mackenzie

UAL Chief Social Purpose Officer


Tony Travers

Tony Travers

Associate Dean, School of Public Policy

Vernon Bogdanor's new book The Strange Survival of Liberal Britain re-thinks the two turbulent decades prior to the First World War that have previously been seen as one of decadence, of the strange death of liberal Britain.

Between 1895 to 1914, Britain’s political landscape was changed for ever. It was a period of transition from aristocratic rule to mass politics and heralded a new agenda which still dominates today. The issues of the period – economic modernisation, social welfare and equality, secondary and technical education, a new role for Britain in the world – were complex and difficult. Indeed, they proved so thorny that despite the efforts of the Edwardians they remain among the most pressing problems we face in the twenty-first century.

In this wide-ranging and sometimes controversial survey, Bogdanor dispels the myth of decay and instead argues that this period set the scene for much that is laudable about our nation today. He demonstrates that the robustness of Britain’s parliamentary and political institutions and her liberal political culture, with the commitment to rational debate and argument, were powerful enough to carry her through one of the most trying periods of her history and so make possible the remarkable survival of liberal Britain.

More about our Speaker and Chair

Vernon Bogdanor CBE is professor of government at the Institute of Contemporary British History, King’s College London. He is a fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Historical Society and the Academy of Social Sciences and an honorary fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.

Polly Mackenzie (@pollymackenzie) is the UAL Chief Social Purpose Officer. She is also the Chief Executive of Demos, the UK’s leading social value think tank. She also founded the Money & Mental Health Policy Institute, and was the Policy Director to the Deputy Prime Minister (2010 to 2015).

Tony Travers is Associate Dean of LSE School of Public Policy and Director of LSE London. His key research interests include local and regional government, elections and public service reform. Tony is chair of the British Government@LSE research group.

More about this event

You can order the book, The Strange Survival of Liberal Britain, (UK delivery only) from our official LSE Events independent book shop, Pages of Hackney.

The LSE School of Public Policy (@LSEPublicPolicy) equips you with the skills and ideas to transform people and societies. It is an international community where ideas and practice meet. Their approach creates professionals with the ability to analyse, understand and resolve the challenges of contemporary governance.

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