Latest Issue

Curates of utopia

Who owns Raymond Williams, one of the father figures of the New Left? Fred Inglis tries to understand why his biography of Williams has been vilified by some left-wing reviewers

By Fred Inglis   March 1998

Britain has never had a left intelligentsia in the mode of Jean-Paul Sartre or Noam Chomsky, vivid public figures living in a state of pure and principled opposition to power.

The British intelligentsia has, indeed, been closer to policy than in many other countries. The great social architecture which was Britain’s pride-the NHS, national insurance, the Open University, public service broadcasting, nationally-owned energy and railways, civic schooling-was designed by troops of gas-and-water socialists from the universities and, as often as not, the old working class. Richard Titmuss, Chelly Halsey and Richard Hoggart joined happily with Brian Abel-Smith, Barbara Wootton and…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect