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The New Politics of ClassThe Political Exclusion of the British Working Class$
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Geoffrey Evans and James Tilley

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198755753

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198755753.001.0001

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The Parties

The Parties

(p.116) 6 The Parties
The New Politics of Class

Geoffrey Evans

James Tilley

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 documents three major changes in the main political parties, and especially Labour. First, party policy converged during the 1990s towards a more right-wing set of positions. The two main parties now cover a far less extensive ideological range. Second, in both manifestos and party speeches group appeals to voters changed. Labour, and to a lesser extent the Conservatives, regularly referred to the working class in both speeches and policy documents in the past, but they now display little or no recognition of the working class, or class per se. Both parties have adopted more class-neutral terminology referring to families. Third, politicians are now drawn from a similar pool of highly educated, upper middle class people. All of these changes have combined to transform perceptions of the parties. The chapter shows that people now see the main parties as more similar in terms of policy, elites, and which class they represent.

Keywords:   social class, working class, middle class, political parties, Labour, Conservatives, party manifestos, party speeches, social composition of party elites, British politics

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