Realignment of English politics

This has happened, right? 

The Tories are the party of those areas which supported Brexit, and Labour/Lib Dem/Greens will fight between themselves for those areas which supported Remain. Whilst the Brexit war has been fought, and decided, the sociological, economic and moral issues against which it was fought remain important and divisive. Labour has lost large parts of its working class base and is become a more exclusively metropolitan and younger generation party. It is difficult to see how Starmer, or in fact anyone, could do anything to reverse this.

This is a bad lookout in the short to medium term, because although the two camps are broadly equal in numbers, there are more Brexit constituencies than Remain. 

In the longer term, it could spell trouble for the Tory party, as their core voters are older and will shrink as a proportion of the population. Still, the Tories have always been quite good at reinventing themselves and some people become more reactionary as they get older.

I think these so-called "culture wars" have a lot to answer for. The parties have realigned themselves around this, but ordinary people just don't give a monkey's... or wouldn't if the media didn't keep ramming it down their throats, forcing them to choose one side over the other. For example, I'm a social liberal, an environmentalist, but an ultra-nationalist. Where do I fit on this culture war divide line? 

The traditional Left - Right divide is much more meaningful for people.

I broadly agree with this. Labour can no longer be a party of two halves and now seem to be concentrating on urban elites/students/trans/woke voters. Their traditional voters feel abandoned by them and seem to feel at home with the Tories although this may change if austerity is brought back. 

The Tories are sitting pretty for some time to come. To an extent it depends on whether the oft predicted economic collapse comes. 

Astute analysis heffalump. The question is can the Tories keep this new normal once the brexit cow has run out of milk? Do Duckys culture wars really matter?

Labour seem essentially helpless at the moment.

Former Brexit supporting constituencies may not care too much about the vibrancy of the economy, because those voters tend to be heavily dependant upon (a) pensions and (b) state spending. The parts of the economy that generates income for the country are very largely in the Remain areas. So even if the UK economy continues to be damaged by the consequences of Brexit it may not affect political results very much so long as we can keep on borrowing. 

Labour hasn’t represented the cultural interests of the working classes since James Callaghan.

Covid, and particularly furlough, have destroyed the Tory party’s ideological commitment to self-sufficiency and hatred of state benefits.

With both Labour and Conservatives prepared to bribe the working classes and squeeze the rich (however defined), it’s not clear that subtle differences in the minutiae of economic policies can form the basis for the simplicity of a General Election campaign.  

Cultural differences may well predominate. Which may be reduced essentially to London vs. Everywhere else.  

dux i really do blame the media and social media for fomenting these culture wars

essentially they stand to profit hugely through advertising revenue by actively seeking out and promoting extremist viewpoints, or misrepresenting comments of mainstream figures to incite debate

I think the extant pro-remain community is now just a very small bunch of zealouts who can't let go.

It's very obvious from the absolute electoral disaster zone that has been the Lib Dems and Change UK (or whatever name ended up on their tombstone) that most of the public have been completely unaffected by Brexit and gave up caring "Remain" about  as an electoral issue shortly after 23 June 2016.

The recent success of Labour has been about the huge lurch to the radical left which the aspirational working classes have always found abhorrent, and which  metropolitan champagne socialists seem able to tolerate, even when it means whitewashing antisemitism.

I don't think Labour has been the party of the working class for many years now.

It all feels a bit early-80s to me, when large swathes of traditional working class Labour voters (like my extended family) all thought Thatcher was great because they could buy their council houses and never went back.


I think there is something here feeding through from the Lib Dem collapse in 2015 and then the Ukip/Brexit party falling apart more recently. 

Not sure former lib dems flock to labour (certainly not under the ultra conservative Corbyn administration). 

Plus, a lot of people just like that Boris Johnson is a bit of a funny mess. So long as video doesn't come out of him literally calling anyone who didn't got to a Pay to Win school as a total scum a lot of voters will give him the benefit of the doubt. 

I think Boris Johnson is such a massive wildcard in all this that trying to draw conclusions about trends in British politics is impossible as long as he's involved. 

The guy won in London twice as a Tory. People, for whatever reason, love him. I'm sceptical about how many of these apparently strong trends will persist past him being PM. 

Labour are inept though. They parachuted in a hardcore pro-Remainer who is literally the person that commissioned a report that recommended closing the local hospital, basically the #1 issue in the by-election. 

That is, of course, Corbyn's fault. 

I think it is too early to say given the brexit and then covid upheavals - we are still on extraordinary times,  we won’t know if realignment is permanent until the dust settles, probably another 18m at least.

The realignment is around Scotland. It's the rise of the SNP that has wrecked Labour's chances in Westminster. 

Spot on really although even amongst young people i'd say Labour will struggle unless we're talking uni students. I doubt an 18 year old labourer from Hartlepool is going to be voting Labour any time soon. 

Very sweepingly Labour now = woke, metropolitan progressives/students/Muslim and Black minorities. 

There is simply no way the above can ever constitute enough of a voting block to carry an election. 

Not quite sure how they have contrived to screw themselves over so appallingly. 


You have to remember that Labour has been a joke electorally for most of a generation +. Parliamentary parties are about getting elected. Call Me Dave realised right wing frothers were unelectable but handy for getting the vote out. Blair realised that he needed the middle ground to be able to do anything for the people that needed help. 

Momentum, consisting mostly of right on proto-Trot twots with enough money to ever care about the reality of poverty, removed that driver from the PLP. That left enough room to accommodate the lurch towards placating the ERG under TMPM. Momentum kid themselves that 2017 was close, but it was only so because their vote was bolstered by people thinking Labour offered more chance of a continued relationship with the EU. 

The wind has been taken out of Labour's sails as COVID spending basically removes the need for fiscal prudence that's normally required. So there's no public spending differentiator. Also someone has taken control of the Conservatives and realised that JRM etc are poison that need removed from public view now the right/wrong issue of Brexit is done. 

Labour are done for as COVID and Brexit damage leave a great deal of room for "recovery", in the same way a new CEO publishes all the bad news about the company at the start of their tenure. There is also going to be a grown-up takeover at some point in the near future, removing the political ammunition that a "what larks" approach to govt brings. 

For me, the only way back for Labour is to re-adopt the Education Education Education policy of Blair, magnifying the 10 years of underinvestment in primary and security education and childrens' social services, pointing out that middle class centrist's children are being prejudiced, so will not have the capability to support those in their late 30s to early 50s in retirement. Ultimately fixing this fixes society for generations, and there is plenty to fix in what the Conservatives have done. It's also aspirational, so more inspiring than here's £5 off your tax bill. However, Starmer is trying to keep Momentum onside instead of purging them, which he could do by doing a deal with the unions. 

So basically within 15 years we have gone from an existential risk for the Conservatives (Brown calling an election in 2007 would have finished the CMD route to redemption), Labour are now finished unless they split into New Labour and Momentum.


in relation to posts at 11:46 and 12:11, this is (obviously) not about whether we apply to join the EU. That is not going to happen in the foreseeable future. 

That's just not true playftse4me. At the relevant point Brown had a 13% poll lead. I expect his/his advisers' egos got in the way and were worried they would not win by as much as Blair did in 2005. 

I'm not sure it is a political realignment.

Labour were always the metropolitan party based on a coalition between the unions and middle class intellectuals and the Tories were the provincial party. What we're seeing is the results of the de-industralisation (and with it de-unionisation) and depopulation of former mining areas. These are no longer union seats in what were industrial areas but are now more rural backwater seats and that is the change we're seeing.

Labour are still the party of the public sector workers (education, NHS) which are the areas where unions are still most active.

"What we're seeing is the results of the de-industralisation (and with it de-unionisation) and depopulation of former mining areas. These are no longer union seats in what were industrial areas but are now more rural backwater seats and that is the change we're seeing."

Yes indeed: although not just mining of course, same goes manufacturing etc. The march of automation also goes ever forward, meaning the manufacturing that remains can be done with fewer employees, who have less leverage and stability than before.  

This is a meta trend that runs throughout the more economically developed countries. Major cities have become an inescapable centre of gravity in terms of opportunities, the regions are dying, but cities have simultaneously become less affordable to live in.

I have yet to see anyone, anywhere propose anything remotely sufficient or innovative to change this.    


most likely thing is that labour will win the GE after the next one. "time for a change"!!!.  to much of a mountain to climb for the next one.

I agree with everything others have said on this thread (that must be a ROF first!)

The Lib Dems would be well-advised to focus on the "Liberal" and "Democrat" in their names and to try to carve out a civil liberties and democratic accountability anti chumocracy corruption platform, which might make them an alternative to Labour and the Tories.

At the moment, however, they seem more concerned with out-woking Labour. 


Provided the economy recovers the Tories will stay in power. Boris will have delivered Brexit and taken us out of the pandemic. Beyond that most people couldn’t give a tug. They’re too busy on Insta.

“I have yet to see anyone, anywhere propose anything remotely sufficient or innovative to change this.”

True but this little viral particle is going to do their job for them. If you put COVID-19 on the ballot, I’d vote for  it.




‘The Tories are sitting pretty for some time to come.‘


All the self congratulatory brexity bullshit on this thread is only 2 years old

It’s always later than you think I suppose 

there's a big gap for economically conservative, international in outlook, socially liberal.

some have ended up in the liberal democrats but i think they're kidding themselves

but it will depend how the coalition that makes up the Conservatives realigns itself post election


What has in fact happened is that the Tories have pretty much lost both the working class red wall seats and the remainery moderate seats and look likely to be left with a rump of southern shire seats where the ruddy faced small town and village types will vote for them come what may. 

"The guy won in London twice as a Tory. People, for whatever reason, love him. I'm sceptical about how many of these apparently strong trends will persist past him being PM"


Clubbers is right. The tories have bet the farm on fielding a gang of overseas players when the mood of the country is moving back to the centre. 

"there's a big gap for economically conservative, international in outlook, socially liberal."

This is basically how Rory Stewart described himself recently on TRIP and of course he has left the Party now. He couldn't support Johnson.  The centrist Tories seem to have abandoned ship.

he might be but the party he leads is currently dominated by the 2019 coalition.  about the only way to re-trench around that view is to lose all the headbangers who came in on the pro-johnson pro-breixt anti commie coat tails.



Good analysis.

The electoral calculus of swapping the moderate Tory vote for the UKIP populist vote worked in 2019, and arguably it still does. Affluent professional and internationalist Tories are those left without a chair when the music stops. This is exactly why Starmer is bending over backwards to make sure he’s got the centre ground ahead of the Lib Dems. 

The thing about the populist vote is that it is fickle… if it turns out the numbers on the bus were BS, or that Brexit has made the square root of fook all difference to immigration, then the payback ain’t pretty. 

The current Tories are massive state, high tax, very high spending. I like many Tories voted Remain. labour and the Tories both were split down the middle on Brexit. Labour moved from liberal left to woke left and stopped following principles of personal freedom. There is no party to represent my views of more freedom, smaller state, much lower taxes, but the Tories are lower tax than Labour so they will keep my vote.

I find Rory Stewart extremely annoying, but at least he’s trying to reclaim the centre ffs. The centre needs a charismatic leader. It can’t be that hard. Sunak and his gang of supply teacher Nazis have zero appeal.