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In Place of Labour: The Increased Localisation of Electoral Geographies in Competition Between UKIP and Labour

Author:

Jack H. Glynn

London School of Economics and Political Science, GB
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Abstract

The emergence of UKIP out of the doldrums and into the limelight has irrevocably transformed politics in Great Britain. The party’s newfound ability to challenge the Labour Party in what were thought to be its most secure strongholds, the industrial towns of the North, has, to date, been attributed to the resurgence of the “left-behind” voter with sociological structures such as class being seen as the most influential variables to model this change in electoral behaviours. This paper will challenge this near-monolithic assessment. With the use of local election data, it will demonstrate that regressions using these structural variables produce too much variation for us to simply declare this left-behind thesis as the sole model required for our understanding. Instead it will stress the importance of electoral geography to improve these explanations showing the necessity to integrate the local contexts of each town or city in order to better explicate why some are making the switch to UKIP while others are choosing to remain loyal. Interviews with local political activists in three case studies – Manchester, Liverpool and Rotherham – were then employed in order to begin to extract these local factors. The findings of this research indicate the increased localisation of British politics, denoting a major shift in how we approach electoral geographies as well as political campaigning. We can no longer rely on certain regions, such as the North West, and their constituent towns and cities, to vote in a uniform manner. Local contexts now play a much more authoritative role meaning that each town responds to the same pressures and phenomenon, such as in this study, the rise of UKIP, in a very un-uniform manner.

 

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How to Cite: Glynn, J.H., 2018. In Place of Labour: The Increased Localisation of Electoral Geographies in Competition Between UKIP and Labour. LSE Undergraduate Political Review, 1, pp.58–95.
Published on 19 Jan 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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