Britain alone

How a decade of conflict remade the nation

By Liam Stanley

Britain alone


  • Hardcover
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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6438-4
  • Pages: 248
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: February 2022
  • BIC Category: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Economy, Economics, finance, business & management / Political economy, United Kingdom, Great Britain, British and Irish Politics, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, British Politics, Politics & government, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Nationalism & Patriotism


When Britain left the European Union in January 2021, it set out on a new journey. Shorn of empire and now the EU too, Britain's economy is as national as it has ever been. A decade or so since globalisation seemed inevitable, this is a remarkable reversal. How did this happen?

Britain alone argues that this "nationalisation" - aligning the boundaries of the state with its national peoples - emerged from the 2008 global financial crisis. The book analyses how austerity and scarcity intensified and created new conflicts over who gets what. This extends to struggle over what the British nation is for, who it represents, and who it values.

Drawing on a range of cultural, economic, and political themes - immigration and the hostile environment, nostalgia and Second World War mythology, race and the "left behind", the clap for carers and furloughing, as well as Superscrimpers and stand-up comedy - the book traces the complex nationalist path Britain took after the crash, demonstrating how we cannot explain nationalism without reference to the economy, and vice versa.

In analysing the thread that ties the fallout of the crash and austerity, through Brexit, and to the shape of lockdown politics, Britain alone provides an incisive and original history of the last decade of Britain and its relationship to the global economy.


'Britain alone is a fascinating and incisive piece of scholarship, full of historically-grounded insight about the place of state, nation, and empire in Britain's present political economy and consequent political predicaments.'
Helen Thompson, Professor of Political Economy, University of Cambridge

'In recent years, Britain has been gripped by political delusions and nostalgia, culminating in the Johnson premiership. Liam Stanley's great achievement is to dig beneath the mania and identify the underlying drivers, explaining how the unnecessary imposition of austerity created the conditions for a new nationalism. A lively and original analysis of Britain's extraordinary last dozen years.'
Will Davies, Professor of Political Economy, Goldsmiths


1 A nation in debt
2 Nostalgic visions
3 White Britain
4 From exclusion to inequality
5 In or out
6 Unleashing Britain's potential
7 Locked down



Liam Stanley is a Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield and a Fellow of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI)

Britain alone

By Liam Stanley

Hardcover £80.00 / $120.00

Hardcover £20.00 / $29.95

Paperback £20.00 / $29.95

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