1st February 2023

Badgeland — A Memoir of a Labour Party Young Socialist in 1980s Britain

Steve Rayson and his book Badgeland - A Swindon Socialist's Memoir
Steve Rayson and his book Badgeland – A Swindon Socialist’s Memoir

I’ve read this book – and what an engaging read it is with many resonances for me – and even shared experiences. It’s also rather funny!

I had a working-class childhood in a mining area – Steve had a working-class childhood in an industrial Swindon. So many similarities. One working-class background is very much like another. And we both had Timex watches in our teens!

Steve though went to university in his youth – something that I did only in recent years. And in similar vein I’ve only VERY recently become somewhat politically active – whereas Steve grew into a most politically engaged youth – and that makes a neat segue into Badgeland. In Steve’s words:

‘… a book about a politics obsessed teenager in Swindon in the 70s and 80s. He believed that working-people had everything to gain from socialism. The only problem was they didn’t agree with him. It’s a story about coming of age, class, politics and social mobility.’

Steve's actual jacket with all (well most) of his badges
Steve’s actual jacket with all (well most) of his badges

About Steve Rayson

Born in Cirencester, the baby Steve came to Swindon when his family moved to the town – to upper Stratton near Penhill Primary School. In due course of course, Steve became a pupil there. Then from there to Ruskin Junior school and onto Headlands.

The first generation of his working class family to go to university, Steve’s venture to Bath university to study economics and politics left behind parents puzzled at his interest in politics.

After university, aged 21, Steve went to work for Ken Livingstone and the Greater London Council in County Hall.

The book

Published by Bavant Press, the paperback of Steve’s memoirs retails at £7.99 It covers Steve’s active political years from 1979 to 1987.

The Kindle and paperback book are now released on Amazon here. They’ve listed it as a hot new release in its category – something that Steve is rather thrilled about!

So – I’m v.much enjoying this book and recommend it to you. But don’t take my word for it. Take that of David on Twitter:

I can highly recommend Badgeland a fantastic memoir of growing up, family, left wing politics and so much more. 5/5′

Also from Alan Johnson, the former Health Secretary:

‘Steve Rayson’s depiction of British politics in the 70s and 80s is pitch perfect but this book is much more than that. It’s a tender reflection on father/son relationships in working class communities and the fault line that can develop between them through a university education. The best memoir I’ve read in years.’

The book is also available from Bert’s Books in Swindon’s Old Town. More info about Bert’s Books here:

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