Publications, Lectures and Broadcasts 2013-14

  • 'A Matter of Faith: Britain and Islam' - a historical
    survey in the BBC History Magazine,
    February 2013
  • Interview on Edwardian industrial militancy for BBC
    Radio Four series on 1913 with Michael Portillo, July 2013
  • Lecture on 'Sylvia Pankhurst', National Portrait
    Gallery, 11 July 2013
  • An assessment on the anniversary of the death of the
    suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison at the Epsom Derby, 1913, in History Today, June 2013.
  • Interviews on Conservatism/the Conservative Party 19th-20th century for BBC Radio Four series to be broadcast sometime later this year.
  • 'Liberalism and National Identity: the Victorian
    Achievement', forthcoming in the Journal
    of Liberal History
    , Autumn. edition 2013
  • 'Women and the First World War: Emancipation or
    Domesticity ?', lecture for the Tynemouth First World War Commemoration Project,
    Northumbria University, 13 November 2013
  • Article on 'Britain between the Wars' in New Perspective (sixth form history
    magazine), December 2013.
  • Lecture on 'Explaining the Labour Landslide 1935-1945',
    for Carlisle Historical Association, 24 January 2014.


Publications in 2013

'Commemorating the
First World War' -
Leading letter, Guardian
letters, Thursday 14 February 2013, p.37

'A Matter of Faith' -
analysis of relations between Britain and Islam from 622 to 2001,
B.B.C. History Magazine, February 2013,

'Lloyd George's
Coalition Proposal of 1910 and Pre-War Liberalism' -
Journal of Liberal History, Issue 77, winter 2012-13, pp.18-23

'Liberalism and National Identity: the Victorian Achievement' - 
Journal of
Liberal History,
Issue 78, spring 2013


Published in 2012

Britain: Unification and Disintegration


This book was published in July 2012 by Authors Online
It is available from them as a paperback and as an e-book

.Also available in both formats from

or can be ordered through your local book shop

From the collapse of Union with Scotland to scares about "Winterval", controversies about multiculturalism, outbreaks of Europhobia and attacks on Islamophobia … Almost every week brings fresh symptoms of confusion and uncertainty about Britain and Britishness. This book is one historian's take on the crisis of British national identity that has reached a peak since the Millennium.

Martin Pugh explains how the British acquired a secure sense of their identity in the Victorian period and why this has largely unravelled since 1945. He argues that key institutions like Empire have now disappeared and others like the Monarchy and the Church have lost much of their relevance and centrality in society.

He suggests that the one remaining aspect of national identity is sport - which offers evidence of British success and indications of a viable multiracial society. 

Finally, he considers why the new coalition Government enjoyed special advantages in reshaping national identity, and why it appears to be failing to realise its potential.


Scotland,Europe, multiculturalism, the Church, 'Winterval', the Diamond Jubilee, Islamophobia, the 'special relationship', the Olympic Games …. Almost every week brings new symptoms of confusion and uncertainty about Britain and Britishness. This book is one historian's take on the crisis of British national identity that has been developing for several decades but has reached a peak since the Millennium.

  • The book explains how the British acquired a secure sense of their identity in the Victorian period based on the successful Union withScotland, the industrial revolution, an expanding empire, a popular monarchy, belief in individual freedom, parliamentary democracy and an inclusive approach to refugees and immigrants.

  • It explains why this has unravelled since 1945, how almost all the institutions and values that once sustained Britishness have disappeared or lost their relevance, and how the Millennium focused attention onBritain's loss of purpose.

  • It analyses the economic and political success of the Union withScotlandandWalesand the centrality of Liberalism in sustaining the multi-national state during the Victorian era. It explains why the multi-national state no longer works and the
    origins of the English problem.

  • It considers how the British disengaged from their empire in so short a space of time and without experiencing any obvious trauma or controversy, but asks whether in the long term we have really adjusted to the loss of empire.

  • It explains howBritainattempted to find an alternative national role and purpose by joining the European Union, why this appears to have failed, and why popular hostility towardsEuropeis growing over time rather than diminishing.

  • It analyses the historical rationale for the special relationship with theUnited States, how this diverted the British from finding alternative roles, and why the relationship has become largely dysfunctional forBritain.

  • It examines the evolution of a multi-racial society, dismisses sweeping
    generalisations about multiculturalism and shows the need to distinguish between
    the experience of West Indians, Sikhs, Indian Hindus, East Africans and Muslims. It argues that in many waysBritainhas developed a successful multiracial society but that it has been undermined by high unemployment and by perennial police discrimination against ethnic minorities, and blown off course by Islamophobia.

  • It explains the peculiar nature ofBritain's parliamentary monarchy and how greatly its role and popularity have fluctuated since the reign of George I. It argues that in recent decades the monarchy has been inexorably undermined by changes beyond its control and has largely lost its previously central role in national identity.

  • It places relations between the British and Muslims into their historical context,
    showing how the once close connection gave way to a long series of unwise and counter-productive interventions in the affairs of the Muslim world.  It analyses the flaws in recent Islamophobic propaganda and suggests that it has been discredited by the Arab Spring and by the massacres carried out inNorwayin the name of resisting the supposed threat posed by Muslims.

  • It argues that while most of the elements in British national identity have been marginalised, the role of sport remains viable and more important than it has ever been, partly because it is a positive expression of the multiracial society.

  • Finally it considers how far the coalition government enjoys advantages in
    reshaping national identity and the extent to which the potential has been lost by the mishandling of the Union withScotland, relations withEuropeand negative
    official attitudes towards Muslims.

 State and Society: British social and political history since 1870
  • A fourth edition ofState and Society: British social and political history since 1870willbe published by Bloomsbury on 16thFebruary 2012 in paperback. The new edition of this textbook includes a chapter dealing with the premiership of Gordon Brown, the banking crisis, the general election of 2010, the coalition government and the deepening crisis of national identity in Britain.
 Published by Bloomsbury

Liberal Democrat Spring Conference 2012

  • Martin spoke on 'Winston Churchill: Liberal or Conservative?' in March at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference at the Sage, Gateshead



Article on "Churchill's Strange Brew" in History Today, May 2011. On the first anniversary of the coalition government this is an assessment of the career on Winston Churchill as both a Conservative and as a Liberal for no less than nineteen years.

A chapter on "The triumph of the New Liberalism 1899-1914" in Peace Retrenchment and Reform: A History of Liberal Politics in Britain 1679-2011, published by Biteback, 2011.

Times Literary Supplement, 14 October 2011, review of Laura Schwartz, A Serious Endeavour: Gender, education and community at St Hugh's 1886-2011.

The paperback edition of Speak for Britain: A New History of the Labour Party, published by Vintage, 2010.

Article on "The Liberals and the role of women in British politics 1906-1924" in Revue Francaise de Civilisation Britannique, autumn 2011 edition.

1978 Electoral Reform in War and Peace, 1906-1918 [Routledge]

1982 The Making of Modern British Politics, 1867-1945 [Blackwell, now in 3rd edition]

1985 The Tories and the People, 1880-1935 [Blackwell]

1988 Lloyd George [Longman]

1992 Women and the Women's Movement in Britain 1914-1959 [Macmillan 2nd ed, 2000 extends the book to 1999]

1994 State and Society: a social and political history of Britain since 1870 [Arnold/Hodder/Bloomsbury, now in 4th edition]

1997 A Companion to Modern European History 1871-1945 , as editor [Blackwell]

1997 Storia Della Gran Bretagna 1789-1990 [La Nuova Italia Scientifica; later editions in Russian, and in English as Britain: A concise history since 1789, Macmillan]

2000 The March of the Women: a revisionist analysis of the campaign for women?s suffrage, 1866-1914 [Oxford University Press]

2001 The Pankhursts {Allen Lane/Penguin; now available in Vintage paperback]

2005 "Hurrah for the Blackshirts!": Fascists and Fascism in Britain between the Wars [Cape]

2008 "We Danced All Night": A Social History of Britain Between the Wars [The Bodley Head]

2010 Speak for Britain: A New History of the Labour Party [The Bodley Head]