A Future for Socialism by Bryan Gould; Out of Apathy: Voices of the New Left Thirty Years on by Oxford University Discussion Group - review by Matt Seaton

Matt Seaton

The Left Quick March

A Future for Socialism


Jonathan Cape 208pp £15 order from our bookshop

Out of Apathy: Voices of the New Left Thirty Years on


Verso 182pp £24.95 order from our bookshop

For two such different books, one by a single author concentrating on the future, the other a collection of many voices assessing and reminiscing about the past, there are unexpected points of contact and mutual illuminations. With contrasting degrees of scepticism and self-assurance, A Future for Socialism and Out of Apathy reflect a sustained argument about the meaning of ‘socialism’ – it almost seems to have shrunk to a struggle over semantics. In the end what remains is an unsavoury choice between the premature triumphalism of a Labour MP with the scent of a parliamentary majority in his nostrils, and the introspective and ritual self-criticism of the New Left’s leading lights who, in Lindsay Anderson’s words, ‘can envisage nothing more clearly than Maggie’s Fourth Term’.

Bryan Gould has established himself as both a moderniser and an intellectual by the standards of the Labour Party (Out of Apathy, as a portrait of the New Left, underlines the profound ambivalence with which socialist intellectuals have regarded the Labour Party – characterised as ‘one foot in, one foot

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter