The Grand Tour: A Journey Through British Politics: 300 Years of British Socialism, Conservatism and Liberalism
Date: January 2021
Duration: 6 hours 52 minutes
Anne McElvoy presents this epic history of Britain's three biggest political movements, from their beginnings to the present day
In these absorbing series, veteran journalist and current affairs commentator Anne McElvoy examines the origins and evolution of the three pre-eminent political movements in British history. Using interviews, readings and fascinating anecdotes, she guides us through 300 years of Conservatism, Liberalism and Socialism, deftly putting the emergence of these key ideologies in their historical and social contexts.
Conservatism tells the story of the big challenges that have spurred leading British conservative thinkers into action, from the French Revolution to the growth of mass democracy, the welfare state the permissive society and the rise of free-market economics. We meet some of the party's big beasts, including Edmund Burkem Benjamin Disraeli and Margaret Thatcher, and hear how an ideology that began by focusing on the land, paternalist benevolence, traditional social hierarchies and the Church of England transformed itself into something rather different.
Next, McElvoy charts the development of Liberalism, from the 'Glorious' Revolution to the Edwardian era, the Great Depression and the 1960s, when it reached its zenith. Taking in the life and work of pioneering philosophers and reformers including John Locke, Adam Smith and Mary Wollstonecraft - as well as pivotal politicians such as William Gladstone, Millicent Fawcett and Roy Jenkins - she shows how fundamental liberal ideas came into being, explores contrasting versions of the political creed, and discusses how liberalism has come under pressure: and what this tells us about its limits and its future.
Finally, she traces the inception, growth and transformation of British Socialism, from its foundation in a 19th Century Scottish mill village to the Chartists, the Revolutionaries, the Fabian Society, the Women's Liberationists and the grassroots enthusiasm for Tony Benn in the 1980s. Along the way, she looks at the competing approaches to changing Britain in the interests of working people, and introduces us to a few of the iconic figures who shaped socialism, including Robert Owen, Keir Hardie, Ernest Bevin, Stafford Cripps, 'Red Ellen' Wilkinson - and Beatrix Potter.
From Utopian visions of government and revolutionary zeal to the inner workings of Parliament and the position of Britain on a global scale, this compelling, comprehensive and inspiring history explains just how we arrived at our current political climate - and why.
Presented by Anne McElvoy
Produced by Phil Tinline and Sarah Shebbeare
Conservatism featuring: Professor Richard Bourke, Professor Dinah Birch, Dr Tristram Hunt, Professor Jon Lawrence, Professor Richard Aldous, Dr Matthew Roberts, Fern Riddell, Professor Krista Cowman, Dr Dan Jackson, Professor Martin Pugh, Professor Simon Ball, Dominic Sandbrook, Dr Eliza Filby
Liberalism featuring: Justin Champion, Hannah Dawson, Amanda Foreman, Keith Tribe, Barbara Taylor, Richard Huzzey, Eugenio Biagini, Stuart Jones, Ben Griffin, Edmund Fawcett, John Lawrence, Richard Cockett, Elizabeth Crawford, Helen McCarthy, Rebecca Hamilton, Gerard McDermott, Debra Baker, David Feldman
Socialism featuring: Lorna Davidson, Gregory Claeys, Dr Katrina Navickas, Professor Malcolm Chase, Professor Jon Lawrence, Professor Tony Webster, Gillian Lonergan, Dr Tristram Hunt, Professor Mark Bevir, Professor Ruth Kinna, David Howell, Jim Smyth, Michael Ward, Baroness Dianne Hayter, Professor Steven Fielding, Laura Beers, David Howell, Professor Sally Alexander, Professor Barbara Taylor, Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 2-13 September 2013 (Conservatism), 7-18 December 2015 (Liberalism), 19 February-2 March 2018 (Socialism)