Abstract: Many on the Left have chosen to attribute Labour's defeat in the 2019 general election to Brexit and the unpopularity of Jeremy Corbyn - short-term issues - the implication being that by the time of the next election, due in 2024, neither of these will be the toxic issues they were last December. Indeed, they will point to the current slump in Boris Johnson's poll ratings to prove that Labour's recovery is already well under way. Yet the 2019 Labour defeat also owed much to longer-term structural factors and trends which have been weakening Labour's electoral support - the 2017 result seems to have been an aberration - since 2001. The 2019 result revealed the width and depth of ideological and cultural chasm which had grown between Labour's former working-class supporters, and its middle-class supporters; in numerous respects, each has different, often diametrically opposed, cultural values and social attitudes, and as has been seen very recently, the Conservatives have been very adept at exploiting these by promoting 'culture wars' (seemingly another US import into British politics). Yet Labour also faces serious problems due to the FPTP electoral system, for whereas the Conservatives can attract support from virtually everyone who holds Right-ofcentre views and values, those who consider themselves to be Left-of-centre - even if, arguably, a statistical majority - can, and often do, distribute their votes between a range of 'progressive' parties. Labour is now paying the heavy price of the Blair Governments' failure to introduce PR.
Bio: Pete Dorey is Professor of British Politics in the School of Law & Politics at Cardiff University. He is the author, co-author, or editor of 16 books, and 80 journal articles and chapters, on aspects of British politics, political history, and public policy, from 1945 to the present-day. In the Spring semester of 2014, he was Visiting Professor of Politics at the University of Bordeaux, and in Spring 2019, Visiting Professor at Charles University, Prague. His 2011 monograph, British Conservatism: The Politics and Philosophy of Inequality, won a PSA prize.
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