What’s the “red wall” going to think? “As Boris Johnson moves from Covid-19 and Brexit to his “leveling up” agenda, this is likely to be one of the main issues in 2021. Already, both Labour and the Tories are making comments with half an eye on the response in “red wall” constituencies on issues such as Brexit, Black Lives Matter, racism and immigration. This emphasis, however, leads to a misconception of the red wall and a misreading of the working class: a wide variety of constituencies compose the red wall, with populations ranging from the very rich to the extremely disadvantaged.
“the anomaly … was not so much the Conservative victory this time, but rather the failure to switch to the Tories in 2010 and 2015, as they had done on most previous occasions when there was a change of government. “the anomaly… was not so much the Conservative victory this time, but rather the failure to switch to the Tories in 2010 and 2015, as historian and psephologist Lewis Baston observed after the 2019 election, as they had done on most previous occasions when there was a change of government. Analyst James Kanagaso coined the word “red wall”
These constituencies are almost the opposite of what most people think of as the red wall: not traditional Labour seats that unexpectedly turned blue in 2019, but marginal seats that interestingly had not previously flipped to the Tories. Then there are those constituencies that resemble traditional Labour strongholds more closely, particularly communities that once were dominated by coal or steel, such as Workin Here, when many supporters left the party for Boris Johnson’s Tories, Labour’s concerns became clear. “I look back and realize they haven’t done anything for us,” Alison Benjamin of the Guardian recently told a former miner and Labour MP from Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire. Everything that counts for so many politicians is their careers, not the citizens they serve. Throughout the debate, the red wall is used less as a demographic descriptor and more as a cipher for those ideals supposedly embodied by working-class people, a social conservatism on topics such as immigration, crime, welfare and patriotism. As I have already suggested, the truth is more complex, with co-operation.
In addition, embracing the right’s framework on what is politically feasible appears to solidify conservative claims on topics such as immigration, making it much more challenging to question the myths and thereby solidify a particular narrative. This is another trap to avoid: disenchantment of the working class with the Labour Party will not be overcome by advocating a false social conservatism in the hope of winning
It is also a product of a national discourse that too often pits the interests of the working class against those of minorities and a left that too often rejects concerns of the working class as manifestations of racism or xenophobia. The issue lies in the idea that in order to restore social relations, one must be illiberal on immigration, healthcare, or gay rights, or that one must disregard the grievances and nee nee
It is a conviction that once characterized the left, rooted in the disentanglement between the social and the liberal relationship. Politics is about reacting to the being