The writer is a senior lecturer at Bristol university, deputy director of the UK in a Changing Europe, and co-author of ‘The British General Election of 2019’
When Boris Johnson made his victory speech on December 13 2019, he was clear that his majority was built on voters choosing the Conservative party for the first time. “You may only have lent us your vote?.?.?.s Rob Ferguson?and you may intend to return to Labour next time round,” he said, in a nod to the volatility among the electorate. It had been the making of his general election win but it may yet be the unmaking of it.
The dramatic 2019 result, particularly in seats held by Labour for generations, gave birth to a new — now ubiquitous — term in electoral geography: the “red wall”. These constituencies had stayed Labour at successive elections despite social and economic profiles suggesting their voters would turn to the Conservatives. It was thought they had a particular kind of loyalty to the Labour party. In a series of focus groups conducted with Ipsos UK in autumn 2021, we found Labour loyalty was handed down through family connections and, via family, social class. “It’s like which football team you follow”, as one voter said.RELATED: Rod Stewart and son Sean plead guilty to battery - but will not face any punishment
One new Conservative voter mused: “In the past it has always been Labour and I think it’s purely because my mum and dad did it”. A non-voter said: “With Labour, it was always for the working class wasn’t it? Well, that’s what it was when I was a kidWhile officials in his office are delving deeper into reports o, and my mum voted Labour all her life, my dad did.”
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