Labour’s lost tribe: winning back the working class

Winter 2018

Labour’s working-class support rose at the 2017 election, but by far less than the increase in working-class support for the Conservatives. Amid some stunning victories in affluent areas like Canterbury, Reading, Leamington Spa and Sheffield Hallam, there were disheartening losses in predominantly working class seats in Mansfield, Middleborough, Cleveland and North-East Derbyshire. This is a rapid acceleration of a longer-run trend which Labour ignores at its peril. This article will focus on the deepening problem of working-class political disengagement, and what Labour can do to reverse the trend. The emerging Corbynite policy agenda has many worthwhile elements, but in terms of addressing class inequalities, and offering a route to working-class empowerment, it leaves much to be desired.

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