Monday, July 25, 2016

Préparation agrégation anglais civilisation britannique 9

Le royaume-Uni à l'épreuve de la crise 1970-79

Conflit social
Le conflit social figure en bonne place parmi les priorités des historiens des années 1970. Il a laissé peu de documentaires (en tout cas sur YouTube). Néanmoins ce document de la BBC présente l’histoire d’Upper Clyde Shipyards et leur occupation du chantier naval au début de la décennie :
« When the Eyes of the World Were on the Clyde »

Cela vous fera également pratiquer la compréhension d'accents écossais.

On cite souvent la grève à Grunwick d’un groupe de salariées immigrées en tant que tournant lors duquel le mouvement syndical britannique a commencé à mettre le combat antiraciste au centre de ses préoccupations. Ce court documentaire présente la dirigeante de la grève, Jayaben Desai

Friday, July 22, 2016

Britain in the French press: royal babies and nuclear missiles


Préparation agrégation anglais civilisation britannique 8

Le Royaume-Uni à l'épreuve de la crise 1970-79

As well as having a clear idea of the major events, debates and confusions of the 1970s in Britain, you do of course need to show a sense of context. This does not involve having an encyclopedic knowledge of British history. However, if, when speaking of Northern Ireland or of devolution or of constitutional questions in the 1970s, you can add a very brief comparison with an earlier era, examiners are bound to be impressed. 

To help you revise your general knowledge of British history, you will find here a series of six one-hour lectures I gave a few years ago to first year university students. It is a whistlestop tour of "Britain since the Romans" in 6 hours. 

Click here

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Préparation agrégation anglais civilisation britannique 7

Le Royaume-Uni à l'épreuve de la crise 1970-79

Our period of study 1970-79 ends with the establishing of the first Thatcher government. Margaret Thatcher made such a mark that she has an -ism named after her (Thatcherism), which is not the case of all Prime Ministers. She is remembered as the first woman Prime Minister in the UK and praised or reviled as the harbinger of vast neoliberal change. When she died, the UK population were very much divided on how to react, and the song "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead", used as a mocking celebration of her death, sold a very large number of copies.

But who was she before 1979? Was she the cause or the result of changes in the Conservative party and in the political debates in Britain?

This documentary will help you understand some of the elements required to understand her rôle. It was made by the conservative newspaper the Daily telegraph, so one would expect it to be sympathetic to Thatcher.

Click here for the documentary on YouTube

If like me you are very busy, use an online tool like clipconverter to make the videos into MP3 files you can listen to while playing golf.

A new review of my book

A new review of my book (The Show Must Go On- Popular Song in Britain in the First World War). It is written by Peter Grant from John Cass Business School. He likes my analysis of the music industry but thinks I am much too hard on the Army Hierarchy. Link here: http://www.tandfonline.com/…/…/10.1080/03007766.2016.1207408

Friday, July 15, 2016

Crisis in the British Labour Party

There is an extraordinary crisis going on in the British Labour Party. You can follow political opinion on this around the internet.

From the point of view of the student of British history, it points up a long-term conflict about legitimacy in the British Labour Party. It is not just a question of being or not being democratic, it is concerned with who has legitimacy to make key decisions in the Labour Party.

The Labour Members of Parliament tend to say "we have been elected to parliament by large numbers of voters: our opinions are therefore the most important".

The Labour Party activists who campaign around political issues, and go from door to door at election time to encourage people to vote Labour, will tend to say "We do the work which allows the party to exist, and we pay monthly subs to fund the party: our opinions are the most important".

The Trade Union leaders will tend to say "The Labour Party was founded by Trade Unions in order that workers should have a political voice, and most of the money for funding the Labour Party comes from Trade Unions, just like corporate funding supports the Conservative party: so our opinions are the most important".

You can find a humorous, pro-Corbyn opinion on the crisis here:


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Very ancient history of civilization in Britain

New discoveries concerning Bronze Age Britain

See article here

Political crisis in the UK

The United Kingdom is going through its biggest political crisis since the Second World War

Follow it on facebook on the pages of

Theresa May the new Prime Minister
Jeremy Corbyn , leader of the Labour Party
Angela Eagle, challenger who would like to lead the Labour Party
Owen Smith, ditto

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Préparation agrégation anglais civilisation britannique 6

Le Royaume-Uni à l'épreuve de la Crise 1970-79

You will have to be familiar with the ideas and careers of some key politicians. Obviously this includes the Prime Ministers of the time, but also people further to the Right, like Enoch Powell, or further to the Left, like Tony Benn, or indeed somewhere in between, like Shirley Williams. YouTube documentaries provide some useful input.

To begin with Tony Benn, here is  a university lecture on his life and ideas :

And you can also see Benn « In his own words » in this documentary :

If like me you are very busy, use an online tool like clipconverter to make the videos into MP3 files you can listen to while doing the ironing.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Préparation agrégation d'anglais civilisation britannique 5

Le Royaume-uni à l'épreuve de la crise 1970-79. Post 5.

Spend some of the summer making sure you have a wide general view of what happened in the nineteen seventies in Britain.

You should know who most of these people are and what they did in the seventies. Remember they may have changed their activities and ideas since. Internet searches are sufficient for a first approach: after the summer, we will worry about interpretation, debate, polemic etc.

Edward Heath
Margaret Thatcher
William Whitelaw
Reginald Maudling
James Callaghan
Tony Benn
Barbara Castle
Harold Wilson
Michael Foot
Denis Healey
Roy Jenkins
Shirley Williams
Jeremy Thorpe
John Poulson
Ian Paisley
Tony Cliff
Enoch Powell
John Tyndall
Jack Jones
Joe Gormley
Jayaben Desai
Jimmy Reid
Rosie Boycott
Mary Whitehouse
Bernadette Devlin
John Clees
John Lydon
John Peel
Ken Loach
Angela Carter
Dennis Gabor
Godfrey Hounsfield
Louise Brown
Ian Smith
Idi Amin
Richard Nixon
Augusto Pinochet
Mario Soares

Hugh Scanlon

Friday, July 08, 2016

Préparation agrégation d'anglais, civilisation britannique 4

In the 1950s and 1960s, the far right in Britain was very weak. The return of unemployment and economic crisis, and the decision of people like Enoch Powell to use racism for political purposes, gave the fascists a new opportunity.

The award winning documentary series World In Action produced this half hour documentary in 1978, entitled “The Nazi Party”.

If like me you are very busy, use an online tool like clipconverter to make the videos into MP3 files you can listen to while doing your yoga.

PS This series of posts on preparing the British civilization question will continue throughout the summer.