Lessons from the UK elections for Church and society

May 11, 2021 by

by David Robertson, theweeflea:

The recent UK elections (council and mayoral in England; devolved parliaments in Wales and Scotland) have turned out to be far more interesting than such elections usually are. They also reveal a great deal about how the UK is changing and offer opportunities for the Church to reflect and speak into the culture.

The break-up of the old politics?

The most significant aspect of the election is the confirmation that there has been a seismic shift in politics – moving away from the old Left and Right views, largely based on economics, to the new Progressive v. Social Conservatives, largely based on ‘identity’ and ‘values’. The Conservatives gained 236 councillors, and 13 new councils. Labour lost control of eight, including Durham – although Labour did better in the mayoral elections, making a couple of gains and holding on to Manchester and London.

Labour used to be able to rely on what it called it’s ‘red wall’, but that seems to be disappearing. This was most dramatically seen in the parliamentary election for Hartlepool. In previous years it used to be said that you could have put a monkey with a red rosette in places like Hartlepool and they would be elected. No longer. The Conservative candidate received more than double the vote of the Labour challenger.

In by-elections you often see extraordinary turnarounds, but they are invariably against the party of government. The fact that the opposite happened indicates that this is a watershed moment in British politics. The rules of normal politics are being rewritten. It looks as though many working-class people have had enough of being taken for granted by their former representatives. The majority of the working class now vote Tory, the majority of the middle class Labour, Green or Lib Dem.

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