Culture not class is the new political divide - by Matthew Goodwin for Unherd

Four months on from his summer assessment, Professor Goodwin finds the Prime Minister's administration in remarkably rude health in spite of the medical and financial ills currently sweeping the country.


"...after everything if you ask people today what they would prefer — a Conservative government led by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, or a Labour government led by Keir Starmer and Anneliese Dodds — the blues lead the reds by fifteen points. It’s not even close."


And why is this? "Whether knowingly or not our Prime Minister has tapped into a deeper realignment that is unfolding not just in this country but across many other Western democracies. His premiership was not just made possible by a single campaigner, a single issue or a well-run campaign; it was related to the underlying tectonic plates of British politics being on the move and long before he even became the leader of his party."


Professor Goodwin identifies an extraordinary phenomenon at work. "Both parties have inverted their traditional base of support, the Tories no longer the party of the rich and Labour no longer the party of the poor. How could it be when Johnson walked away with an astonishing 18-point lead among the C2 skilled workers who we used to call “Essex Man”, and a 15-point lead among all workers?"


And why would this be? "The real reason, the root cause of Johnson’s resilience, is the new values divide that is cross-cutting our traditional loyalties. In today’s world, where cultural questions have become more important than economic ones, people routinely put their values ahead of their wallets. The moment that Johnson’s team decided to unify the Leave vote was the moment they were destined for victory. Transfer the Brexit referendum result from councils onto constituencies and you are left with the simple but crucial fact that more than 60% backed Brexit. This is what unified the loose alliance of blue-collar workers and affluent conservatives; it was not their very different economic experiences but their shared views of the nation."


How Johnson reconciles this new alliance of small 'c' socially conservative thinkers around an uber-liberal free trade economic strategy is the defining political issue of our times.


Here is the article in full with a link to the original beneath:



Why Boris is still beating Labour
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