Progressive News: 10 October 2017
Party of the workers
More grist for the crisis in progressive politics over its voice for working people.
We begin with the latest Political Quarterly, a goldmine of fascinating detail for anyone interested in UK politics and this year's general election and making remarkable findings about the way the right is swapping support among graduates for support among working class voters.
The most remarkable finding we discovered was the extent of the Conservative's incursion into the working class vote at the expense of graduates. In an election that saw the biggest two-party vote since the 1970s, both parties increased their support from working class voters. From the 2015 to the 2017 election Labour increased its share among working class voters from 39% to 44%. But the Conservatives moved from 27% in 2015 to 45% in 2017.
Meanwhile, it dropped support from 46% of voters with degrees to 39%, while Labour increased its support among people with degrees from 40% in 2015 to 48% in 2017.
This looks like a realignment: Conservatives this year had more support among working class voters, and Labour among better educated voters.
It's even more extraordinary that working class voters in the UK are moving towards the Conservatives when 'intergenerational fairness' is worsening steadily (which is another way of saying the wages of workers in their twenties are not rising compared to previous generations, and they have fewer opportunities for advancement by switching jobs; they're spending more of their incomes on housing; they're spending less and building less wealth; feeling more pessimistic and unlike generations before them, they're not better off than the previous generation.
The story is familiar. The country is not going to the dogs, but its not making the progress in living standards for some very specific groups: Young people, working class people in particular. There is both a cause and effect link to Labour parties increasing their support from graduates who likely to be least affected by these sectional changes in relative wellbeing.
This is the most important ideological issue for the progressive representatives of working people today.
Speaking of working people drifting away from Labour...
If Labour had achieved the swing in Auckland city and West Auckland that it averaged nationally its case for NZ First to support it over National would be hard to resist, according to figures from Michael Appleton who has been a source of forensic insight into the election details and analysed the results following the special vote count.
One interesting data set he posted on Twitter is here: https://twitter.com/michelappleton/status/916524985014874114
One major lesson for Labour from this election: It has to perform much better in Auckland, and especially in the mortgage belt.
(The swing in South Auckland was much lower than average as well, but Labour has outperformed in South Auckland in past elections, so a further large swing toward it would have a different meaning.)
Will a Labour- New Zealand First government mean an ugly anti-internationalism?
We hope not, but the signs are not good.
Former UK Progress Chair Alison McGovern, brilliantly, sets what it mans to be from somewhere:
Also by Alison McGovern: a direct and hard hitting reply to those who say immigrants keep wages down.
"Since the global financial crash, real wages in the UK have fallen by 10 per cent. In both France and Sweden, they have risen by 10 per cent. In Germany, they have risen by 13 per cent. The inescapable conclusion is that migration is not the problem."
(Also, a reminder to ditch the delicate dishonesty that holds that the statement 'immigration keep wages down' means something different to 'immigrants keep wages down.')
More links this week
The five best books about inequality
The ceo of the BNZ calls for a capital gains tax
Airbnb paid less than £200,000 corporation tax last year, despite generating more than £600m of rental income for British landlords.
The Rules of the gun debate.