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Category: British Politics

Labour’s lost voters and attitudes to immigration

Written by Paula Surridge.

At the weekend, Tony Blair expressed his belief that new tougher immigration rules could be a way to satisfy voters without requiring the ‘sledgehammer’ of Brexit. Whilst being met with disdain by many within the current Labour party it appears to be more in tune with those voters who have stopped supporting the party at general elections since Labour last won power and particularly with those previous Labour voters who voted for the Conservatives on June 8th 2017.  Using data from the British Election Internet Panel Study, we can identify those who either voted Labour in 2017 or had previously voted Labour in 2005 but failed to do so in 2017. Data are included for England only and excludes those too young to vote in 2005.  The groups identified and their sample sizes are

Red lines and compromises: public opinion on the Brexit negotiations

Written by Lindsay Richards and Anthony Heath.

The heated nature of the public discourse around Brexit suggests that the British public are not in a compromising mood, but is there evidence to back this up? We set out to discover what people think about the various aspects of the EU negotiations. Where are people more willing to compromise and what do they say are the ‘red lines’? Our results suggest there is more to see than the ‘two tribes’ politics of leave and remain.

Digital campaigning and the 2017 election: The rise of Facebook and satellite campaigns

Written by Kate Dommett and Luke Temple.

Digital technology is now central to political campaigns and in the 2017 General Election we think there were two developments that have important implications for UK politics. The first was the developing role of Facebook. The second concerns what we describe as ‘satellite campaigns’. Both of these complicate election regulation law, and raise questions about whether parties still have control over their campaigns.

Young voters and their “never Tory” mindset: the making of a Labour generation?

Written by Anja Neundorf and Thomas J. Scotto.

Beyond the tallying of votes, elections serve as important events which heighten the importance of politics in the minds of many citizens. For young people, the event of their first election can leave behind an endurable mark on their future voting behaviour. Given the apparent increased mobilisation and massive Labour support among young voters, we speculate here about what to expect from this generation in future elections.

After Brexit, should the UK just join the EEA?

Written by Christopher McCrudden.

As Brexit negotiations get underway, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see how the UK can pursue its former “have your cake and eat it” strategy, particularly when it comes to a trade deal.

Some of the most ardent Brexiteers want a totally clean break from the EU. Under this model, the UK would leave both the customs union and the single market. But after the general election, this “hard Brexit” now seems highly unlikely.

Ruth Davidson, the Queen of Scots who will be the Tory party’s saviour?

Written by Mark Stuart.

While the Prime Minister licks her wounds in England, another female Tory leader north of the Border has emerged as the new star of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. Last Thursday, Ruth Davidson presided over a dozen spectacular gains for the Scottish Tories.

Remarkably, after years in the wilderness, Davidson engineered her Party’s best performance since 1983, including the spectacular toppling of former SNP leader, Alex Salmond in Gordon and the scalp of Angus Robertson, the Leader of the SNP’s Westminster MPs in Moray.

For Jeremy Corbyn, the hard part of being Labour leader has only just begun

Written by Steven Fielding.

Suddenly, the Labour party is in a much stronger position than even many of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters believed possible. Only a few weeks ago, Unite leader Len McCluskey said if the party ended up with just 200 seats that was good enough for him. Others argued that if Labour only slightly improved on the 30.4% of the vote it received in 2015 Corbyn should remain leader. It wasn’t just the media predicting disaster for the party when Theresa May called an election.

But having added a remarkable 9.5% to its 2015 share and with 30 more MPs, what should Labour do now? For while Corbyn campaigned unexpectedly well, Labour remains 64 seats short of a House of Commons majority.

Jeremy Corbyn will explain Labour’s 2017 defeat by going back to 1983

Written by Steven Fielding.

“… for the first time since 1945 a political party with an openly socialist policy has received the support of 8½ million people. … the Labour manifesto commanded the loyalty of millions of voters and a democratic socialist bridgehead has been established from which further advances in public understanding and support can be made. …It is no wonder that the establishment still fears the Labour Party and its ideas so much. For they know that it is the only real challenge to their privileges.”

No, this is not a leaked draft of Jeremy Corbyn’s concession speech, one all the polls suggest he will need to deliver on June 9th. It is an excerpt from a Guardian article written by Tony Benn published within days of Labour’s cataclysmic 1983 defeat. That election – coincidentally held on June 9th – saw the Conservatives win a 144-seat majority and reduced Labour to 27.6 per cent of the vote, just 700,000 ahead of the Social Democratic Party-Liberal Alliance, and to a mere 209 MPs. It was Labour’s worst result since 1935.

Conservative immigration policy: a tragicomedy in two parts?

Written by Helen Williams.

It’s been a bruising week for Mrs May’s Team. Mocked for her non-appearance at the BBC debates and visibly uncomfortable at press conferences, the Prime Minister should be very clear that what once appeared to be a guaranteed Conservative landslide in the 2017 General Election is now increasingly in danger of becoming a hung parliament.

After a disastrous public response to the social care proposals (deftly dubbed the ‘dementia tax’), Mrs May appeared to completely rebrand her campaign, attempting to shift the focus back to Brexit and immigration. Gone is the prominent slogan ‘Theresa May: strong, stable leadership in the national interest’ (with the words Conservative Party difficult to locate); now it’s ‘Theresa May and the Conservatives: a Brexit deal for a bright future’.

General Election 2017: A Futile Election

Written by Steven Fielding.

This has been the most tragic, weirdest and most unnecessary of election campaigns in British history. Some see the return of two party politics – with UKIP, the Liberal Democrats and SNP all looking likely to lose support – as a reassuring echo of elections past. But nothing else is familiar or comforting.