'A Song for the Future': A Response to Paul Pickering
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I am grateful to the Editor of Labour History for arranging this symposium on my book, and to Paul A. Pickering for considering it so provocatively. Back in 1996 this journal published Paul’s timely recovery of the egalitarian, socialist principles inspiring the poetry of the young H.R. Nicholls, who was then a hero of the businessmen of the New Right in Australia. Nicholls was an English Chartist who migrated in 1853 to Victoria, taking his principles with him; in Pickering’s words ‘his locality changed, but not his mentality’, a statement that neatly sums up the idea that has inspired much of his own research since 1996.1 As well as publishing many important studies of British radical politics in the Chartist era, Pickering has been the major force behind the study in Australia of the Chartist movement as part of a ‘British world’ of values and ideas in the nineteenth century.