The ‘Common Wealth Circus’: Popular Politics and the Popular Press in Wartime Britain, 1941–1945

Kristopher Lovell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The popular press is often seen as the ‘voice of the people’. However, an intensive examination of the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and Daily Express during the Second World War demonstrates some problems with this claim. In fact, the wartime popular press was uninterested in popular political movements, notably the Common Wealth Party, which had a string of by-election successes in the second half of the war. They only took notice of the organisation after it was electorally successful, and even then, its focus was less on its popular support than on the political elites within the party. This paper discusses the Common Wealth Party’s relationship with the press and the implications this has for our understanding of the way non-mainstream political parties were represented in the wartime popular press. It adds to current scholarship by presenting the first detailed discussion of the Common Wealth Party’s coverage in the British press, and widens the debate on the role of the press during the war.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-450
Number of pages24
JournalMedia History
Issue number3-4
Early online date2 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Common Wealth Party
  • By-elections
  • Second World War
  • Daily Mirror
  • Daily Express
  • Daily Mail


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