David Jeffery, PhD Candidate, School of Politics and International Relations
Primary supervisor: Professor Tim Bale
I started my PhD in September 2014, which is joint-funded by the ESRC and the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary, following a BA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations (2010 - 2013) and an MA in Politics with Research Methods (2013 - 2014), both at the University of Sheffield.
My research examines the causes of Conservative electoral decline in Liverpool from 1945 onwards. Until I left for university, I had always lived in Liverpool. I grew up during a time when the city was on the rise and was increasingly confident about its future - a far cry from the city’s politics in the 1980s.
However, beyond the well-documented rise of Militant, the city’s post-war political history was sparsely documented. I began to recognise the fact that popular myths about the city were false; for example, the idea that Liverpool had always voted Labour (false: Liverpool was in fact the penultimate major city to fall to Labour, only gaining control of the city council in 1955) or that it was Thatcher who caused the Conservative decline in the city (again, false: the Conservative decline begin in the early 1970s, and continued after Thatcher left office).
As such, I’ve undertaken this project to contribute to the literature on Liverpool. It straddles the divide between a local history and a work of political analysis - aiming to tell the city’s unique story whilst also facilitating comparative analysis. Within the scope of my project, this will involve a comparison between Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow, chosen for their varying mixes of trade unionism, sectarianism and economic challenges. Hopefully, my project will challenge popular misconceptions about Liverpool, as well as going some way to filling the gaps in the literature on what is a surprisingly understudied city.