Seven Myths That Changed England – and How to Set Them Straight | How To Academy

Wed, 22 May 2024

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm BST

Seven Myths That Changed England – and How to Set Them Straight

Tom Baldwin and Marc Stears In Conversation With Hannah MacInnes

Bestselling biographer Tom Baldwin and political scientist Marc Stears interrogate the myths that shaped England’s history – and the modern struggle of forging a national identity.

In an election year when this country stands on the cusp of major changes in government, there will once again be efforts to inflate myths about England that obscure much-needed clarity in our politics.

Some politicians will talk of restoring an English birth-right 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 more will look inwards to a story of an enchanted island that can stand alone and isolated against the world.

But the best-selling biographer of Keir Starmer, Tom Baldwin, and Director of the UCL Policy Lab and Professor of Political Theory at Oxford, Marc Stears, join us to unravel seven myths that have provided so much ammunition for charlatans and culture warriors from left and right alike.

Baldwin and Stears will reveal how a humbler, less grandiose, set of ideas rooted in real lives can help fix some of what has gone so badly wrong in recent years.

From the muddy fields in the Home Counties to the ports of Plymouth and Hull, from the old industrial heartland of Wolverhampton to the seaside of Blackpool, from gleaming towers of London modernity to the dreaming spires of Oxford, they will take us on a journey to meet people from all aspects of English life. What emerges is a vivid picture of a country that belongs to everyone.

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Tom Baldwin

Bestselling biographer of Keir Starmer

Tom Baldwin 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

Director, UCL Policy Lab

Marc Stears is the inaugural Director of the UCL Policy Lab. He was previously Director of the Sydney Policy Lab, a Professor of Political Theory at the University of Oxford and chief speechwriter to the Labour Party.

Hannah MacInnes

Presenter, Podcaster and Host of How To Academy’s live programmes.

Hannah MacInnes is a broadcaster and journalist. Alongside hosting How To Academy’s live programmes and podcast, she presents a cultural show on Times Radio and interviews on-stage at a number of other major literary events. She is the host of The Klosters Forum Podcast series and has written for the Radio Times, the Evening Standard and TLS. Before going freelance she worked for 8 years at BBC Newsnight, as Planning Editor and as a Producer / Filmmaker.