The New Politics of Class: The Political Exclusion of the British Working Class

The New Politics of Class: The Political Exclusion of the British Working Class

Oxford University Press
9780198755753
0198755759
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Book Description

The New Politics of Class argues that reportsof the death of class in Britain are premature. In fact, there has been hugesocial continuity in class divisions over the last fifty years, both in termsof economic inequality and political attitudes. The change that has occurred ispolitical. Party policies, politicians' rhetoric, and the social composition ofpolitical elites have radically altered. As Labour and the Conservatives becamemore similar, and more middle class, in the 1990s class differences inmainstream party preferences disappeared. It does not follow that classpolitics is dead, however. Formerly minor parties, notably UKIP, have taken disillusionedworking class voters from the two main parties. More importantly, the middleclass consensus offered by the mainstream parties has meant that working classpeople are now much less likely to vote. Britain, like the US, has followed apath of working class political exclusion, fundamentally underminingrepresentative democracy. The New Politics of Class also explains thedramatic pattern of class voting at the 2016 EU referendum: direct democracymeant that for the first time in decades there was a clear political choicewhich exposed the continuing divisions between the classes.