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Goodbye to the Working Class - Social change incompetence and sleaze push Labour to the brink - cover

Goodbye to the Working Class - Social change incompetence and sleaze push Labour to the brink

Reg Race

Publisher: The Conrad Press

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Summary

After 1979, Labour lost eight of the next eleven general elections. Working-class voters deserted, starting in 1970 when widespread abstention began, and the Conservatives won a majority of the working-class vote in 2019. Brexit was a consequence, and not the cause, of these massive changes.
The number of manual workers, Labour’s heartland vote, has collapsed and Britain is now a nation where the biggest occupational groups are shopworkers, education and NHS staff. Demographics have challenged Labour’s ability to win.
But that’s not all.  Labour’s Parliamentary Party is now overwhelmingly middle  class, and Labour has left the working class as the working class has left Labour. It is now a Party of Councillors and Special Advisers, with a membership dominated by the public sector middle class. 
Labour has been the author of its own troubles too. It failed to adapt to change in the 1970s and 80s, attacked the low paid and appeased the powerful, and at a local level is disorganised and sometimes sleazy. 
Its failures are structural. There is no strategic plan, sectarianism is rife, it has regular financial crises, fragile or unelectable leaders are appointed, and disastrous rule changes are made in an age when social media and the internet can disrupt politics on a daily basis. Power has been turned upside down as a consequence.
Political parties matter. Badly organised, ineffective leaderships create policy failures in government, and Labour has failed to ensure a supply of its own working-class or capable candidates too. 
‘Goodbye to the Working Class’ explains why and how this happened. It is a human story of significant consequence for our politics.

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