Will the last working-class centre-Left voter in Europe switch off the light?

At the Spectator:

Our political system dates from the industrial age, when in most countries two blocs arose, one representing the interests of a large and powerful (and potentially dangerous) industrial working class; the other a vague coalition of establishment supporters and anti-revolutionaries, liberals and conservatives, and the middle and upper class, who worked together to prevent democratic socialism or something worse taking power; there were various exceptions but it holds true as a generalisation.

This division broadly existed in all democratic countries until the late 20th century, when two big developments (among others) began to make it obsolete: the erosion of industrial jobs in the first world, combined with the brightest working-class kids joining the middle; and mass migration to the West. Both were in their own way linked to globalisation. We now live in the digital age, and there is no powerful working class to fear. (I still see the stickers calling for revolution around town, occasionally stuck to my local Waitrose, but the crowds there suggest it’s not happening any time soon.)

Instead the more logical division now is between the global and parochial. Most of the major issues of the day can be viewed just as easily through the local-global prism as through the left-right one. So on the one hand most younger university educated people in the West are on the ‘left’, by which is meant they are supportive of progressive causes such as gay marriage, racial justice or open borders. These are the prestige, high-status beliefs of the day, just as Catholic Christianity or Anglicanism once were, and they form the philosophical core of centre-left parties in the West. Running through this prestige faith like Blackpool rock is internationalism, and an aversion to anything inward looking. Centre-left parties reflect this worldview.

read it all there

What do you think?

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