Ukip and the Crisis Of Britain

Richard Seymour

Abstract


This was an election won by the right, but not in the way the media suggested. It was not a case of a resurgent Conservative Party, but of changing alignments. The share of the vote for both Labour and the Conservatives barely altered between 2010 (29 per cent and 36.1 per cent, respectively) and 2015 (30.4 per cent and 36.9 per cent). Ukip, however, increased its vote from 3.1 per cent to 12.6 per cent. Deploying a political strategy which I will call ‘counter-transformism’, Ukip consolidated the right wing, energized it, hardened its positions, polarized the debate to the right, and kept a weak Labour leadership on the defensive. With the petty bourgeoisie as its bedrock, Ukip assembled an impressive, cross-class coalition, with moderate advances into the Liberal and Labour vote. It has extended beyond its typical conservative southern England strongholds to the Labour-voting northeast, northwest and South Wales. Only in Scotland, where Labour is the main party of British nationalism, and Northern Ireland, where British nationalism has more locally rooted variants, are Ukip absent.

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