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Gay Men and the Left in Post-war BritainHow the Personal Got Political$
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Lucy Robinson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719074349

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719074349.001.0001

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(p.185) Conclusion
Gay Men and the Left in Post-war Britain

Lucy Robinson

Manchester University Press

Although identity politics tends to concentrate on novelty, it has developed in an ongoing series of reactions to both past and present. Gay politics did not develop in isolation and then force itself on the Left's agenda. It was forged in the counter-cultural milieu between radical and reformist politics. Despite points of unity, like Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, overall we can trace a development along a broad continuum, with a consolidation of the themes that divide the Left from gay activism. This is a partial explanation of the state of protest and politics today, when the traditional institutions of both reform and revolt appear to offer no attraction and personal politics can be misread as political apathy. This concluding chapter looks at the emergence of more recent political activism, such as The Unity Coalition — RESPECT, and the ways in which New Labour has negotiated the politics of sexuality. It evaluates the ‘apathy’ that has been read into falling electoral participation, challenging the popular idea that young people are more interested in reality television than in politics.

Keywords:   identity politics, gay politics, gay activism, political activism, young people, Left, protest, political apathy, The Unity Coalition — RESPECT, New Labour

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