According to sympathetic reviewers, Paul Embery’s Despised: Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class has managed to enrage the liberal Left. Goody, carps the smug-lipped Reaction reader.

But Embery is not a right-wing provocateur. He is a self-proclaimed socialist with twenty years’ experience in trade union activism. Despite its title, Despised seeks a constructive dialogue with the Left and a reckoning with the working class it once sought to represent.

All of us would be wise to support that sentiment. In last year’s election the Conservatives appealed to working-class Labour supporters in “Red Wall” seats like Blythe Valley and Sedgefield. Labour has for years bled votes to the BNP, UKIP and the SNP. A long-awaited shift in the foundation of two-party politics is underway, and Labour must recognise that the hearts and minds of the “left behind” can no longer be ignored if it is to survive as an effective alternative.