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Responding to Identity Politics: Thinking beyond the cultural divide

Emma Bell
p. 31-53

Résumé

It is commonly argued that divides based on value-based identity politics are now the defining characteristic of the contemporary era, capable of explaining everything from the rise of Donald Trump to Brexit. Both the Conservative and Labour parties have sought to appeal to values over policy in an attempt to appeal to ‘identity conservative’ voters in marginal seats. Yet they have also recognised the need to address the grievances underpinning these attitudes, notably regional economic inequality and over-centralisation. This article seeks to critically assess whether the Conservatives’ ‘levelling up’ agenda1 and Labour’s plans to address economic inequality and devolve power downwards, as outlined in the recent Labour report by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown2, are capable of providing the recognition to voters from ‘left behind’ areas that is thought to be the principal driver of regressive identity politics. It then discusses the capacity of alternative locally-based projects that seek to address economic decline – such as community wealth building – to restore that sense of recognition and to foster a positive form of identity politics that might overcome division.

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Introduction

  • 3 Farred, Grant, ‘Endgame Identity? Mapping the New Left Roots of Identity Politics’, New Literary Hi (...)
  • 4 Fukuyama, Francis, Identity: Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition. Londo (...)
  • 5 Hobsbwam, Eric, ‘Identity Politics and the Left’, The New Left Review, 1996, I/127: 38-47.
  • 6 Dean, Jodi, Comrade: An Essay on Political Belonging. London: Verso, 2019.
  • 7 Deneen, Patrick, Why Liberalism Failed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018.

1The term ‘identity politics’ is now ubiquitous. Whilst the term was initially used by the New Left and the civil rights movement who sought to use and define difference in positive terms – not as biological difference which was often invoked in discussion about race and gender, but as difference in terms of shared culture and (oppressive) experience3 – it has more recently become a catch-all term, used pejoratively to refer to left-wing movements demanding equality, particularly on university campuses, but also to movements on the right promoting white nationalism, or to groups engaging in ‘politicized Islam’4. Identity politics are widely criticised from both the left and the right of the political spectrum. Eric Hobsbawm argued almost 30 years ago that identity politics are anathema to the universalist project of the Left to the extent that they aim to advance the position of particular groups5. More recently, left-wing political theorist Jodi Dean criticised identity politics for occluding the importance of class struggle6. On the Right, controversial political theorist Patrick Deneen has claimed that identity politics have created a ‘campus monoculture’ and contributed to the decline of liberalism7.

  • 8 Inglehart and Norris, op. cit.; Goodhart, op. cit.; Mounk, Yascha, ‘How Labour Lost the Culture War (...)
  • 9 HM Government, 2022, op. cit.
  • 10 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit.
  • 11 Evans, Geoffrey and Tilley, James, The New Politics of Class: The Political Exclusion of the Britis (...)

2Regardless of what one thinks of identity politics, they are widely regarded as being a dominant political force which can help explain current political trends. Identity politics are thought to have eclipsed class-based politics and political debate centred on social and economic policies. It is argued that people are now divided more along lines of values and cultural attitudes than class8. Politicians also readily accept the notion of an electorate divided according to group identity and even appeal to identity politics themselves. This article argues that appeals to particular kinds of identity politics over serious policy debate, together with academic efforts to categorise voters into opposing camps, may serve to reinforce divisions rather than address them. It suggests that rational concerns – such as over declining public services or unemployment – often lie behind what appear to be irrational emotional sentiments and that these should be taken seriously. Both the Labour and Conservative parties acknowledge this to at least some extent and have outlined plans to address underlying problems such as regional economic inequalities and over-centralisation. This article seeks to critically assess whether the Conservatives’ ‘levelling up’ agenda9 and the recent Labour report by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown New Britain: Renewing our Democracy and Building our Economy10 are capable of resolving these problems and thus providing the recognition to voters from ‘left behind’ areas that is thought to be the principal driver of regressive identity politics11. It then discusses the capacity of alternative locally-based projects that seek to address economic decline and empower local communities – such as community wealth building – to restore that sense of recognition and to foster a positive form of identity politics that might overcome division.

The appeal of identity politics

  • 12 Goodhart, 2017, op. cit., pp. 2-3.
  • 13 Ibid., pp. 15-16.
  • 14 Sobolewska and Ford, op. cit., pp. 5-6.
  • 15 Inglehart and Norris, op. cit.
  • 16 Op. cit.
  • 17 Op. cit.
  • 18 Goodwin and Heath, op. cit.; Sobolewska and Ford, op. cit.

3The idea that identity divides have eclipsed those based on class have strong appeal to both academics and politicians. David Goodhart famously summed up this divide as that between the ‘Anywheres’ and the ‘Somewheres’, with the former purportedly defining their identities with educational and career success and being ‘confident with new places and people’, and the latter having ‘ascribed identities’ ‘based on group belonging and particular places’, many of whom have ‘lost out economically and feel that their views are marginalised in the public conversation’12. The ‘Anywheres’ are said to welcome change, embrace progressive views on race, sexuality and gender and prioritise individualism over community and tradition. The ‘Somewheres’ are said to be nostalgic for the past, to be social conservatives and show strong attachment to community and nation13. For Sobolewska and Ford, British voters can be divided into three clear categories: ‘conviction liberals’, made up primarily of university graduates who embrace diversity, migration and cosmopolitanism; ‘necessity liberals’ comprising ethnic minorities who embrace certain liberal values such as anti-discrimination out of self-interest; and ‘identity conservatives’ diametrically opposed to the first two groups – white school-leavers characterised by their ethnocentric outlook which pits the ‘in-group’ against the ‘out-group’14. Those in favour of multiculturalism are thus pitted against those who favour stricter immigration controls; the moral liberals against the moral conservatives; the intellectual ‘liberal elites’ against the ‘common sense’ of ordinary people. This view is summed up by Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris as ‘the cultural backlash thesis’ according to which older white men and the less educated are turning to populism in reaction against the feeling that ‘they have become strangers from the predominant values in their own country, left behind by progressive tides of cultural change they do not share’15. It is a view that is also advanced by Goodwin16 and Mounk17 and is widely thought to explain phenomena such as the rise of Trump or the vote in favour of Brexit in the 2016 referendum18.

  • 19 Braverman, Suella, Speech to the Conservative Party Conference, 4 October, 2022.
  • 20 Sunak, Rishi, PM Speech on Building a Better Future, 4 January 2023, https://www.gov.uk/government/ (...)
  • 21 Immigration Act 2014, Immigration Act 2016, Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdr (...)
  • 22 Payne, Sebastien, ‘Why the Tory “War on Woke” Doesn’t Travel’, Financial Times, 5 October, 2021, ht (...)

4Whilst politicians from across the political spectrum are often critical of identity politics – we might think of current UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman railing against ‘the poison of identity politics’19 – they readily accept the notion of an electorate divided according to group identity and even appeal to certain forms of identity politics themselves. The current conservative government’s policies and statements on issues such as immigration, security and nationalism appeal directly to authoritarian and ethnocentric attitudes commonly associated with right-wing identity politics. In his first speech of 2023 Prime Minister Rishi Sunak again highlighted the issue of illegal immigration, notably via small boats crossing the Channel, as one of his top priorities, and promised further legislation20, despite the fact that four major immigration laws have already been passed since the Conservatives came to power in 201021. The government has deliberately placed itself on the side of ‘identity conservatives’ by waging a ‘war on woke’, adopting regressive positions on issues such as transgender rights or the legacy of empire22.

5When Keir Starmer took on the leadership of the Labour Party, he appointed Claire Ainsley as Executive Director of Policy, a post she occupied for two years. She advocated a “public values-based policy agenda” as outlined in her 2018 book The New Working Class, which was designed to speak to an electorate divided along lines of values and culture rather than policy. Indeed, Starmer’s first speeches as Labour leader tended to highlight values over policy: family values, hard work23, ‘decency, fairness, opportunity, compassion and security’24, values echoed by Sunak who claims to stand for ‘patriotism, fairness, hard work’25. Starmer has also put forward a rather conservative idea of patriotism which might be regarded as being targetted at voters considered as ‘identity conservatives’. As Goes notes, rather than advocating ‘social’ or ‘progressive patriotism’ that might draw on Britain’s history of radical dissent and struggle for equality, he has privileged traditional conservative symbols of patriotism, openly declaring his support for the armed forces and the monarchy26. Indeed, the 2022 party conference, held just over ten days after the death of Elisabeth II, began with a rendition of ‘God Save the King’ – quite unprecedented in the party’s history – whilst Starmer opened his first speech of 2023 by noting that the new year would open a ‘new chapter for Britain, with a new King to be crowned in May’27.

The problem with identity

  • 28 Fukuyama, op. cit.

6Although issues of identity and values are clearly important to voters, such appeals to particular kinds of identity politics over serious policy debate, together with academic efforts to categorise voters into opposing camps, may serve to reinforce divisions rather than address them. Such categorisations can be essentialising, glossing over the differences that exist within groups. For example, Sobolewska and Ford ignore the history of working-class anti-racism whilst perhaps exaggerating the extent of anti-racism on the part of university-educated liberal elites. They also tend to conceive of identity politics in wholly negative terms, even as a danger to liberal democracy28. Yet, as will be suggested later, identity politics can be positive. Furthermore, the focus of academics and politicians analysing the so-called ‘cultural backlash’ tends to be on charting and speaking to the grievances of those expressing ethnocentric and authoritarian views, somewhat less on those of groups who are considered to be more outward-looking and cosmopolitan which may lead to their grievances being downplayed or ignored altogether.

  • 29 Sobolewska and Ford, op. cit., p. 334.
  • 30 Bromley-Davenport, Harry, MacLeavy, Julie, Manley, David, ‘Brexit in Sunderland: The production of (...)
  • 31 Carrerras, Miguel, Carreras, Yasemin Irepoglu and Bowler, Shaun, ‘Long-Term Economic Distress, Cult (...)
  • 32 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Regions and Cities at a Glance, 2020, (...)
  • 33 Carreras et al., p. 1416.
  • 34 Hay, Colin, Why We Hate Politics. Cambridge: Polity, 2007.
  • 35 Quilter-Pinner, Harry, Statham, Rachel, Jennings, Will and Valgarosson, Viktor, Trust Issues: Deali (...)

7Perhaps the most significant problem is that a focus on values and attitudes tends to overlook the issues that lie behind them. Ethnocentric attitudes are not fuelled by migration trends and ethnic change alone. As Sobolewska and Ford themselves point out, ‘economic conflicts and identity conflicts interact in complex ways, and more work is needed to unpack how economic forces influence group alignments, and vice versa’29. The present article does not seek to fill this gap but suffice to note that in-depth ethnographic surveys have demonstrated that identity politics grounded in nationalism and anti-immigration sentiment are also driven by economics and a sense of abandonment by mainstream political parties and not by regressive attitudes alone30. Carerras et al. argue that economic and cultural explanations for Brexit are closely intertwined and should not be considered as mutually exclusive explanations for ethnocentric attitudes31. Indeed, they demonstrate that cultural grievances and anti-immigration views are most likely to take root in areas suffering from long-term economic decline. This is because individuals living in these areas are more likely to perceive immigrants as an economic threat, competing for scarce jobs and social resources, especially when media and elite rhetoric frames immigration as a growing problem. If cultural divisions are closely linked to geographical divisions (as asserted by Sobolewska and Ford), this is down to gaping economic disparities between regions which are particularly marked in the UK32. Following Carreras et al., this has important political implications, suggesting that politicians should not dismiss the ‘cultural backlash’ as a simple manifestation of xenophobia and racism but rather as a rational response to economic distress33. It follows that identity divides should be understood as being at least partly fuelled by what Colin Hay has described as ‘supply-side factors’34, such as the failure of politicians to adequately address economic grievances. Indeed, any political response to identity politics that is based on addressing cultural grievances alone will fail to overcome divisions. Focussing on the latter might even exacerbate them by helping to increase the salience of issues such as immigration to the detriment of other important issues that fuel economic grievances. It is also important that politicians address the issue of declining trust in politics as there is evidence to suggest that low levels of trust – themselves driven by the failure of government to deliver equality, good public services and economic growth and stability – can be correlated to a decline in support for ‘culturally-open’ politics, notably on issues such as immigration35. If politicians fail to rise to the challenge, the risk is that voters will become increasingly disaffected with mainstream politics, fuelling the rise of extremism. How do British politicians fare when it comes to addressing the underlying grievances that fuel identity politics?

‘Levelling Up’: Responding to the ‘geography of discontent’

8Following the 2019 General Election, the Conservative Party sought to address the feelings of being ‘left behind’ and resentment of spatial inequalities that researchers have identified as being palpable in economically deprived areas, feeding into regressive identity politics36. These sentiments are ultimately driven by a demand for equal recognition37, notably by the working classes who have been denied political recognition, especially as Labour increasingly sought to appeal to the middle classes, fuelling a ‘sense of being overlooked, ignored and thereby denigrated’38. They seek to be regarded as more than mere ‘bystanders’ in political processes and to be properly represented by the political mainstream39. The ‘levelling up’ programme promoted by the Johnson government and now by Rishi Sunak seeks to address this ‘geography of discontent’40 by promising to tackle local and regional inequality. It focusses on ‘places where people feel politically, economically and socially marginalised: frequently former industrial towns, ailing seaside resorts or peripheral rural areas’ inhabited by those who former Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as ‘the forgotten people’41. Introducing the White Paper, Johnson described it as:

  • 42 HM Government, 2022, op. cit.

A vision for the future that will see public spending on R&D increased in every part of the country; transport connectivity reaching London-like levels within and between all our towns and cities; faster broadband in every community; life expectancies rising; violent crime falling; schools improving; and private sector investment unleashed42.

  • 43 Launched in September 2019, the Towns Fund allocates £3.6 billion to 100 towns selected through a b (...)
  • 44 Launched in 2021, the Levelling Up Fund provides £4.8 billion to borough and district councils who (...)

9To drive forward the plan, a Towns Fund43 and a Levelling Up Fund44 were established and the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government was renamed the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

  • 45 OECD, op. cit.; Martin et al., 2021, op. cit. ; Martin, Ron, Pike, Andy, Sunley, Peter, Tyler, Pete (...)
  • 46 Jennings et al., 2021, op. cit., p. 7; Martin et al., 2022, op. cit. 
  • 47 McCann and Ortega-Argiles, op. cit.
  • 48 Doherty, Catlin, ‘Inflation knows £170 million off value of local investment cash, new data suggest (...)
  • 49 Marmot, Michael, ‘The Government’s Levelling Up Plan: A Missed Opportunity’, British Medical Journa (...)
  • 50 YouGov, ‘MRP: In no Levelling Up area do residents tend to think the local area has improved in rec (...)
  • 51 Newman, Jack, ‘The Ambiguous Ideology of Levelling Up’, The Political Quarterly, 2021, 92: 312-320. (...)
  • 52 Ibid.
  • 53 HM Government, 2022, op. cit.
  • 54 Tomaney, John and Pike, Andy, ‘Levelling Up?’ The Political Quarterly, 2020, Vol. 91, No. 1, Januar (...)
  • 55 Tomaney, John and Pike, Andy, ‘Levelling Up: A Progress Report’, Political Insight, 2021, 12(2), p. (...)
  • 56 Marmot, op. cit.
  • 57 Hudson, Ray, ‘Levelling up’ in post-Brexit United Kingdom: Economic realism or political opportunis (...)
  • 58 Newman, op. cit.

10The project is certainly ambitious, given the sheer scale of social and geographical inequalities in the UK45, yet it is already beset by a number of serious problems. First and foremost is the disconnect which exists between the size of the task ahead and the funding allocated to it, particularly in the context of further fiscal austerity46 and Brexit47. Inflation has drastically reduced the value of the Towns Fund48. Funding is also entirely insufficient to make up the massive shortfall in local government spending imposed by post-2010 austerity policies and so is very unlikely to be capable of reversing the trends towards deepening inequalities that became entrenched in this period49. This perhaps explains why people living in areas that received funding in the first round of the Levelling Up programme implemented in 2019 feel that there has been no improvement, and sometimes even decline, in their local areas in the past four years50. The project is also beset by a number of ideological contradictions. Its political usefulness lies in the fact that it can simultaneously appeal to social democrats in its promise to address social deprivation; to social liberals through its discourse of equality of opportunity; to economic liberals by suggesting that solutions lie in further deregulation of the private sector (for example, with regard to planning rules); and to conservatives via its discourse of unity51. Yet, the attempt to reconcile these different ideologies might ultimately condemn it to failure52. Furthermore, the project is town and city-centred: it is here where investment in jobs and innovation is to be focussed with the hope that rural areas will be better-connected to economic prosperity though improved infrastructure53. Such an approach tends to ignore inequalities within cities54, while the emphasis placed on physical and economic infrastructure rather than on social infrastructure may ultimately fail to improve the living conditions and life chances of people in marginalised areas and may even exacerbate them55. Indeed, in terms of tackling health inequalities, the plan is regarded as ‘a missed opportunity’56. It also tends to ignore individual inequalities, including those based on gender, race, age, sexuality and disability57, yet this is entirely coherent with its place-based focus – ‘a regionally equal country is perfectly compatible with stark economic and social inequalities’58. The Conservative government has certainly shown no interest in addressing the grievances of identity liberals, yet it is hard to see how these are not connected to any project that aims to genuinely ‘level up’ society.

  • 59 HM Government, 2022, op. cit.
  • 60 Sunak, Rishi, ‘My Commitment to Levelling Up Communities Across the UK’, Chamber, 16 December 2022b (...)
  • 61 Tomaney and Pike, 2020, op. cit., p. 46.
  • 62 Martin et al., 2022, op. cit.
  • 63 Connolly, John, Pyper, Robert and van der Zwet, Arno, ‘Governing ‘levelling-up’ in the UK: challeng (...)
  • 64 House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Governing England, HC (...)

11A final major problem with the Levelling Up agenda is that it fails to devolve power and resources to the local level to provide communities with the means to really ‘take back control’ and shape their own destinies, despite Boris Johnson’s promise to create ‘a revolution in local democracy’59. The current Prime Minister’s most recent promises to ‘empower local communities’ are limited to conferring more powers to ‘effective local community leaders’ and to bringing decision-making processes closer to local communities by moving policy-makers from Whitehall to other parts of the UK (such as Darlington in County Durham)60. There has been no suggestion that ordinary citizens actually get involved in the policy-making process. All the signs are that the project is to be driven from the top down61 with control of funding ultimately resting with Downing Street62. It has therefore been described as ‘centralisation masquerading as localism’63, merely ‘tinkering on the edges’ of questions of local democracy64.

  • 65 Tomaney and Pike, 2020, op. cit., p. 46.
  • 66 Hanretty, Chris, ‘The Pork Barrel Politics of the Towns Fund’, The Political Quarterly, 2021, 92: 7 (...)
  • 67 Jennings et al., op. cit., p. 5.

12As a result of these problems, the sincerity of the government’s intentions to ‘level up’ Britain has been questioned. It has been suggested ‘that policy is being driven, rather nakedly, by political calculation rather than a real concern to address longstanding problems’65. Revelations that the money from the Towns Fund and the Levelling Up Fund was more likely to be allocated to marginal Conservative seats66 would seem to confirm that conclusion. Nonetheless, the strategy might just work in political terms, at least in the short term, by allowing the government to appeal to those voters who want a more interventionist state but lean to the right on cultural issues67. In the long-term, however, if the project fails to reduce regional disparities, it is unlikely to address the grievances of either identity conservatives or identity liberals by tackling the fundamental issue of political recognition. It may instead exacerbate them, further undermining trust in politics.

Political recognition in a New Britain

  • 68 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit.
  • 69 Hayhurst, Mark, ‘“Who were those People?”: The Labour Party and the Invisibility of the Working Cla (...)
  • 70 Ibid.

13The Labour Party under Keir Starmer has developed its own plan to address identity grievances, summarised in the recently released report from the Commission on the UK’s future led by Gordon Brown: A New Britain: Renewing our Democracy and Rebuilding our Economy68. Similarly to the Levelling Up White Paper, the report targets people who ‘feel abandoned by an unresponsive system of government’ and seeks to tackle regional inequalities. Labour is perhaps particularly well-placed to provide people with the political recognition they feel they lack. Indeed, as Hayhurst points out, the party has a long tradition of appealing to ordinary people’s desire for political recognition as there ‘was always a strong cultural dimension to the idea of Labour representation’69. The Labour Party did not emerge as a response only to material grievance but also to the psychological need of the working class to feel that they ‘counted’ and to be accorded self-respect70. It did this not just by extending the franchise and meeting material needs but also by supporting industrial democracy by incorporating trade unions into the policy-making process.

  • 71 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit., p. 7.
  • 72 Ibid., p. 70.
  • 73 Ibid., p. 84.
  • 74 Ibid., p. 64.
  • 75 Ibid., p. 72.
  • 76 Ibid., p. 51.
  • 77 Ibid., p. 97.
  • 78 Ibid., p. 98.
  • 79 Ibidem.
  • 80 Ibid., p. 40.
  • 81 Ibid., p. 41.
  • 82 Ibid., p. 70.
  • 83 Ibid., p. 96.

14The Brown Report places particular emphasis on the need to devolve power downwards if economic disparities and widespread political distrust are to be tackled. It deplores the over-centralisation of power in Britain and advocates ‘radical change’ that would entail an ‘irreversible shift in opportunity, wealth and power’71. The report outlines six sets of recommendations. The first set relate to new legal duties that should be placed on government to provide minimum social rights to health, education and housing; to decentralise power; and to rebalance the UK’s economy. The second set relates to devolution of decision-making and investment in economic growth at a local level. The third focuses on combining ‘self-government’ and ‘shared government’ across the UK. The fourth concentrates on the creation of new institutions, such as a Council of the Nations and the Regions, to drive such change. The fifth is about ‘cleaning up politics’ and restoring trust by tackling corruption in government. The sixth proposes to abolish the House of Lords and replace it with a democratically-elected and scaled-down Assembly of the Nations and the Regions. The report goes further than the Levelling Up White Paper. It notably proposes to place a constitutional obligation on governments to address economic disparities across the UK72. Whilst it regards private investment as ‘a force for rebalancing the economy’73, it also recognises the importance of partnership with the public sector74. Furthermore, plans for addressing regional disparities focus not just on the need to improve economic infrastructure, as per conservative plans, but also on improving social infrastructure. It commits to reversing the decline of public services and imposing a legal duty on government to guarantee basic social rights to health, education and housing75. Like the Levelling Up White Paper, the report emphasises the importance of local democracy, promising ‘to breathe new life into our democracy through new forms of participation’76. Borrowing from conservative pro-Brexit rhetoric, it claims that ‘people want “to take back control”’77 and expresses support for participatory budgeting and citizens’ assemblies78. Budgets should be ‘place-based’79 and councils should not have to compete with each other for central-government funding. The Report therefore rejects the Conservative government’s model of competition-based funding which it claims is ‘balkanizing Britain’80. It also goes much further than the current government’s approach to sharing power with the different nations of the UK, condemning ‘muscular unionism’81 and advocating much greater representation of the nations at a national level, notably through the creation of the new Assembly of the Nations and Regions. It recommends ‘double devolution’82 which entails devolving power, not just to the constituent nations of the UK but also to local communities who are to be given new fiscal powers, and creating ‘Special Local Legislation’ which would facilitate Westminster scrutiny of local legislative proposals83.

  • 84 Ibid., p. 53.
  • 85 Starmer, 2023, op. cit.
  • 86 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit., p. 58.
  • 87 Ibid., p. 79.
  • 88 Labour Party, Alternative Models of Ownership, 2017, p. 31, https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/upload (...)
  • 89 Berry, Christine and Guinan, Joe, People Get Ready: Preparing for a Corbyn Government. London: OR B (...)
  • 90 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit., p. 98.
  • 91 Monbiot, George (ed.) Land for the Many, Labour Party, 2019, p. 56. https://labour.org.uk/wp-conten (...)

15Although the plan is ambitious, it also suffers from several shortcomings that may thwart its aim to address identity grievances resulting from economic and social inequalities. Just like conservative plans, it is unclear how its ambitions are to be funded given that the report emphasises the need for ‘fiscal rectitude’84. Indeed, Keir Starmer in his new year’s speech in early 2023 noted that whilst public investment was essential, Labour would not be ‘getting its big government chequebook out’85. The report also echoes the Conservatives’ Levelling Up plan in adopting a towns and cities approach, advocating developing clusters of economic activity that would be connected to each other and to poorer areas through better transport links86. Although the report proposes giving greater fiscal powers to local leaders and involving local communities in budgeting decisions, the notion of economic democracy remains underdeveloped. Whilst there is a brief mention of the potential of local cooperatives to generate wealth within communities87, there is no detailed discussion of how to democratise ownership of economic assets or to strengthen industrial democracy. Proposals put forward in a Corbyn-era Labour policy paper, Alternative Models of Ownership, suggesting that different interest groups such as consumer and user groups could be represented on the management boards of public services88 are ignored. There is no discussion of how to transform the extractive, financialised economy in which economic elites extract wealth from the land, exploiting natural resources, or from other people through high rents or bank charges, for example89. Nor is there any serious discussion of democratising land ownership in Britain beyond the suggestion that community right to buy provisions be extended to give ‘communities first refusal on assets of community value’ and ‘the right to buy them without competition’90. There is no mention of alternative models of ownership for land and housing put forward by a previous report commissioned by the Labour Party, Land for the Many91, such as Community-Led Housing and Community Land Trusts which allow community groups to acquire land and collectively manage the housing built on that land.

  • 92 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit., p. 93.
  • 93 Griffin, Sean Patrick, Remaking the British State: For the many, not the few, 2021, https://www.sco (...)
  • 94 Gamble, Andrew, ‘A Hundred Years of British Democracy’, Political Quarterly, 2019, vol. 90, n°1, p. (...)

16Overall, the report is rather timid about plans for local democracy. It looks at how to move decision-making closer to ordinary people without systematically involving them in those processes. Although it does suggest allowing them to participate in budgeting decisions and in important policy discussions about issues such as climate change, these initiatives are not central to proposals and are not fleshed out in any detail. Plans for constitutional reform are far from radical. Beyond the proposed abolition of the House of Lords, the Westminster model of democracy remains largely untouched. The report follows the Levelling Up paper’s recommendations to move civil servants out of Westminster92 and to strengthen devolution but it shies away from more radical plans to implement ‘progressive federalism’ as outlined in a Labour-commissioned report Remaking the British State published in 2021 which recommended enshrining new federal powers for the English regions, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in a written constitution approved by referendum93. The 2022 report rejects the idea of a written constitution and does not address serious reform of the House of Commons. Most notably, it does not support the abolition of the first-past-the post electoral system which grants a wholly disproportionate degree of power to the winning party, compared to the percentage of the vote actually secured, thus representing a flagrant democratic deficit94.

  • 95 Hall, Matthew, Marsh, David and Vines, Emma, ‘A Changing Democracy: Contemporary Challenges to the (...)

17It is therefore far from certain that either Conservative or Labour Party responses to identity grievances will successfully address demands for recognition to the extent that they fail to tackle the fundamental contradiction between the Westminster model of politics wedded to representative democracy95 and increasing demands for popular control and participation from below. As suggested above, addressing cultural grievances alone will fail to tackle their underlying causes. If promises of democratic revival and economic renewal turn out to be little more than rhetorical, trust in politics is likely to be further undermined, fuelling conservative identity grievances. Liberal identity grievances are also likely to be exacerbated by the failure of both mainstream parties to focus on discrimination based on gender, race, age, sexuality and disability.

18Nonetheless, both the Labour and Conservative parties correctly identify the need for recognition underpinning identity grievances. They are also correct to focus on fixing regional economic disparities and empowering local communities as a means of providing that sense of recognition. But they fail to provide convincing blueprints for meeting these ambitious targets. An alternative way forward might be to draw on existing democratic experiments that have been developed from the ground up within local communities.

Towards a positive identity politics

  • 96 Chakrabortty, Aditya, ‘How One Community Beat the System, and Rebuilt Their Shattered Streets’, The (...)
  • 97 Chakrabortty, Aditya, ‘The Town that Refused to Let Austerity Kill its Buses’, The Guardian, 6 June (...)
  • 98 Chakrabortty, Aditya, ‘Post-Industrial Plymouth was Broke. So It Took Business into its Own Hands’, (...)
  • 99 Chakrabortty, Aditya, ‘Want to Save your Job and Make More Money? Buy Out your Boss’, and Rebuilt T (...)
  • 100 Chakrabortty, Aditya, ‘Yes, There is An Alternative. These People Have Shown How to “Take Back Cont (...)

19These experiments go beyond mere reformism, adopting a radical democratic approach to politics which is deliberative, participatory, inclusive and pluralistic. They provide political recognition to ordinary people by breaking out of the Westminster model and giving them the power to shape the conditions of their everyday existence. They do not follow any set template, but have emerged from the ground up, powered by the energy and innovation of local people and politicians. They include: projects to regenerate decaying urban areas through the establishment of community land trusts to allow local communities to develop their own social housing projets96; schemes to take over control of public services such as rural bus routes97; the development of social enterprises and co-operatives98 and employee ownership99. They share a number of common threads: they are powered by people who have a sense of community and care about their local area; they have all suffered from deindustrialisation and austerity; they seek to deal with basic day-to-day problems facing communities; they embrace social values that are fundamentally opposed to market values; and they depend on local participation100.

  • 101 Guinan, Joe and O’Neill, Martin, The Case for Community Wealth Building. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2 (...)
  • 102 Ibid., p. 13.
  • 103 Brown, Matthew and Jones, Rhian E., Paint Your Town Red: How Preston Took Back Control and Your Tow (...)
  • 104 Power, Helen and Goodwin, Tom Lloyd, Community Wealth Building: A History, CLES, 2021, https://cles (...)
  • 105 Brown and Jones, op. cit., pp. 68-70.
  • 106 Ibid., pp. 62-3.

20Perhaps the most well-known example is that of Community Wealth Building (CWB), as trialled in the small city of Preston, Lancashire. CWB is a local economic development strategy ‘rooted in place-based economics, with democratic participation and control […] focused on building collaborative, inclusive, sustainable, and democratically controlled local economies’101. As such, in common with current Conservative and Labour Party policies, it seeks to both tackle economic decline and empower local communities. However, it is built wholly outside Westminster politics and has often developed in spite of central government policies which have amputated local government funding. Preston was a good place in the UK to pilot CWB as it was ‘once a poster child for economic deprivation and “left-behind” places’102. Previous attempts at regeneration had generally been led by private developers103. It was when one such project to build a £700 million shopping centre in Preston’s city centre fell though in 2011 that the newly-elected Labour council decided to experiment with a different development model. It was largely aided by the Manchester-based charity the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) which sought to prevent public spending from leaking out of the Preston area104. Drawing on the so-called ‘Cleveland model’ piloted in the United States, they sourced local suppliers of goods and services to Preston City Council, Lancashire Council and ‘anchor institutions’ – large employers rooted in the local areas, such as the University of Central Lancashire. Suppliers are selected on their ability to deliver quality and value for money and to respect high environmental and social standards, such as paying a living wage105. Through ‘progressive procurement’, public money is used to boost the local economy, notably as those businesses working with anchor institutions can provide more employment to people who will in turn have more money to spend in the local area106. This is just one aspect of CWB which has been complemented by other ‘pillars’ such as a customer-owned Northwest community bank to invest in the local economy and the establishment of worker-owned cooperatives to fill gaps in anchor institutions’ supply chains.

  • 107 Whyman, Philip B., ‘The Economics of the Preston Model’ in Manley, Julian and Whyman, Philip B. (ed (...)
  • 108 Brown and Jones, op. cit., p. 70.
  • 109 Ibid., p. 73.
  • 110 Prinos, Ioannis and Manley, Julian, ‘The Preston Model: Economic Democracy, Cooperation, and Parado (...)
  • 111 Pidd, Helen ‘Labour’s Victories Show Importance of Localism and Positive Vision’, The Guardian, 8 M (...)

21The Preston model has delivered positive economic results107. Over a five-year period from 2016-2021, ‘Preston City Council and its partners… almost tripled their spending in the local economy, from £38 million to £111 million’ and decreased in-work poverty108. But the model is not just about economic regeneration: just as importantly, it is also about fostering a democratic rather than an extractive economy. Whilst Preston City Council has been the main driver of CWB initiatives, ordinary people have been empowered as members of cooperatives and as employees of companies and institutions that seek to restore a sense of dignity to workers. So far, Preston City Council has not yet developed grassroots citizens’ assemblies that can feed into policy-making, as is the case with some CWB projects elsewhere, but such practices would be wholly coherent with existing experiments in economic democracy and council leader Matthew Brown claims he is committed to implementing them in the future109. The experiment is certainly not perfect: interviews with people living in Preston holding professional roles in different anchor institutions reveal a lack of certainty about the tangible benefits the model has had for ordinary people110. Yet, it should be noted that Labour councils such as Preston which have implemented local democratic experiments retained support in the 2021 local elections, contrary to the nationwide trend111.

  • 112 Prinos and Manley, op. cit.
  • 113 Borwn and Jones, op. cit., p. 74.
  • 114 Ibid., p. 41.
  • 115 Farred, Grant, ‘Endgame Identity? Mapping the New Left Roots of Identity Politics’, New Literary Hi (...)
  • 116 Moran, op. cit., p. 14.

22It is possible that these experiments have value that goes far beyond the economic. Indeed, interviews with professionals from anchor institutions in Preston revealed that CWB in the city had a significant emotional impact, allowing those who were involved in it to feel that they were part of a transformative movement that has significant social value112. Amongst the wider population, it is felt that the model is nurturing ‘a sense of local “place-based pride”’113. This may in turn feed into a more positive form of identity politics whereby diverse groups of people are brought together as members of a local community striving for transformative economic and social change. They are brought together both physically – as members of worker cooperatives, for example – and emotionally – as participants in a shared endeavour to improve their localities. Rather than simply accepting their status of ‘left behind’ or ‘forgotten people’, local people can gain a sense of empowerment, dignity and recognition. The ‘inclusive localism’ driving democratic experiments is a direct counter to xenophobic, exclusive discourses that pit local communities against the immigrant other114. Instead, all those who have a stake in the local area, regardless of their nationality, are brought together as citizens. Positive identity politics can thus unite rather than divide. Indeed, identity politics, as they emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, were always about forging alliances between different groups in order to challenge dominant political practices and ways of understanding marginalised groups115. Positive identity politics are founded on the social, rather than the individual, sense of identity116. Experiments in local democracy show that the citizens of ‘left behind’ places, composed of many different social and ethnic groups, can come together to resist the top-down policies that have failed to address economic decline and to forge a new positive image of their communities as innovative and resilient, thus gaining a political voice.

Conclusion

23Efforts on the part of the Labour and Conservative parties to respond to identity politics are based on a certain interpretation of them as being necessarily divisive, pitting liberal and conservative cultural attitudes against each other. As such, both parties have sought to gain political capital by appealing to ethnocentric voters in marginal constituencies. There is nonetheless some recognition that focussing on cultural grievances alone – or at least on those of ‘identity conservatives’ – will not be enough to address the demands for political and social recognition that drive identity politics. There is consequently some cross-party consensus about the need to tackle the underlying problems that fuel regressive identity politics such as regional economic inequalities and Westminster centralisation. However, the parties’ respective plans, whilst ambitious, suffer from some major flaws, notably the lack of funding and the failure to look beyond place-based inequalities or to break out of the Westminster model. As such, it is hard to see how they will succeed in addressing the root causes of identity divides and reunifying the country.

  • 117 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit., p. 79.
  • 118 English, Patrick, ‘Is the Stereotypical Image of Red Wall Residents Actually Accurate’, YouGov¸17 M (...)
  • 119 Hobswbawm, op. cit.

24 Alternative democratic experiments such as the Preston CWB model signpost a means of fostering positive place-based identity politics that aim to reject cultural differences and restore a sense of dignity and recognition to ‘left-behind’ communities. They are entirely compatible with the stated ambitions of both Conservative and Labour leaders to tackle regional economic inequalities and promote local democracy. Yet, the current government shows little signs of any commitment to radical democracy, hoarding power at the centre and passing anti-protest and anti-strike laws which threaten to severely limit democratic liberties. As for Labour, the Brown Report does state that ‘forms of economic regeneration which seek to create and retain wealth locally […] should be encouraged’117. However, it avoids any explicit reference to the Preston model, perhaps out of fear of association with the Corbyn era, and it does not give a central place to such experiments. The success of Labour councils which embrace them nonetheless suggests that the Party should not be so concerned with appealing to conservative cultural grievances if it hopes to win reelection. Indeed, recent opinion polls suggest that these sentiments are perhaps not as entrenched as it is often believed, even in ‘red-wall’ marginal seats118. Furthermore, as Hobsbawm suggested long ago, Labour would be well-advised to take up democratic empowerment as a universalist cause which can appeal to people’s identity as democratic citizens across cultural divides119. It is a cause that can allow it to speak up for all the people of Britain, rather than having to side with either ‘identity conservatives’ or ‘identity liberals’.

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Notes

1 HM Government, The White Paper: Levelling up the United Kingdom, 2022, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1052706/Levelling_Up_WP_HRES.pdf. (accessed 17 January 2023).

2 Labour Party, A New Britain: Renewing our Democracy and Rebuilding our Economy, Report of the Commission on the UK’s future, Labour Party, 2022, https://labour.org.uk/page/a-new-britain/ (accessed 17 December 2022).

3 Farred, Grant, ‘Endgame Identity? Mapping the New Left Roots of Identity Politics’, New Literary History, 2000, Vol. 31, No. 4: 627-648; Moran, Marie, ‘Identity and Identity Politics: A Cultural-Materialist History’, Historical Materialism, 2018, vol. 26: 15-16.

4 Fukuyama, Francis, Identity: Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition. London: Profile Books, 2018.

5 Hobsbwam, Eric, ‘Identity Politics and the Left’, The New Left Review, 1996, I/127: 38-47.

6 Dean, Jodi, Comrade: An Essay on Political Belonging. London: Verso, 2019.

7 Deneen, Patrick, Why Liberalism Failed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018.

8 Inglehart and Norris, op. cit.; Goodhart, op. cit.; Mounk, Yascha, ‘How Labour Lost the Culture War’, The Atlantic, December 13 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/12/how-culture-killed-labour-party/603583/ (consulted 3 March 2021); Goodwin, Matthew, ‘Why Boris Johnson Just Keeps on Winning’, Unherd 27 July, 2020, https://unherd.com/2020/07/why-boris-johnson-just-keeps-on-winning/

9 HM Government, 2022, op. cit.

10 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit.

11 Evans, Geoffrey and Tilley, James, The New Politics of Class: The Political Exclusion of the British Working Class. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017; Elliott, Brian, The Roots of Populism: Neoliberalism and Working-Class Lives. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2021.

12 Goodhart, 2017, op. cit., pp. 2-3.

13 Ibid., pp. 15-16.

14 Sobolewska and Ford, op. cit., pp. 5-6.

15 Inglehart and Norris, op. cit.

16 Op. cit.

17 Op. cit.

18 Goodwin and Heath, op. cit.; Sobolewska and Ford, op. cit.

19 Braverman, Suella, Speech to the Conservative Party Conference, 4 October, 2022.

20 Sunak, Rishi, PM Speech on Building a Better Future, 4 January 2023, https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-on-making-2023-the-first-year-of-a-new-and-better-future-4-january-2023

21 Immigration Act 2014, Immigration Act 2016, Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020, Nationality and Borders Act 2022.

22 Payne, Sebastien, ‘Why the Tory “War on Woke” Doesn’t Travel’, Financial Times, 5 October, 2021, https://www.ft.com/content/c6eeca0f-260c-4151-9ff1-2f7f235a0436 (accessed 16 January 2023).

23 Starmer, Keir, ‘A New Chapter for Britain speech’, 18 February 2021, https://labour.org.uk/press/full-text-of-keir-starmer-speech-on-a-new-chapter-for-britain/

24 Starmer, Keir, ‘My Pledges to You’, 2020, https://keirstarmer.com/plans/10-pledges/

25 Sunak, Rishi, cited by Denis Staunton, ‘“Patriotism, Fairness, Hard Work”: Rishi Sunak enters ring for Tory leadership’, The Irish Times, 8 July 2022a.

26 Goes, Eunice, ‘Wrapped Up in the Union Jack: Starmer’s Patriotic Turn’, Renewal: Journal of Social Democracy, 2021, Vol. 29. No. 1: 49-59.

27 Starmer, Keir, ‘Keir Starmer’s New Year Speech’, 5 January 2023, https://labour.org.uk/press/keir-starmer-new-years-speech/

28 Fukuyama, op. cit.

29 Sobolewska and Ford, op. cit., p. 334.

30 Bromley-Davenport, Harry, MacLeavy, Julie, Manley, David, ‘Brexit in Sunderland: The production of difference and division in the UK referendum on European Union membership’, Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 37(5), 2019: 795-812. doi:10.1177/0263774X18804225 ; McKenzie, Lisa, ‘“It’s Not Ideal”: Reconsidering “anger” and “apathy” in the Brexit vote among an invisible working class’. Competition and Change, 2017, 21 (3): 199-210, doi:10.1177/1024529417704134 ; Mattinson, Deborah, Beyond the Red Wall: Why Labour Lost, How the Conservatives Won and What Will Happen Next. London, Biteback Publishing, 2020.

31 Carrerras, Miguel, Carreras, Yasemin Irepoglu and Bowler, Shaun, ‘Long-Term Economic Distress, Cultural Backlash, and Support for Brexit’, Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 52(9), 2019: 1396–1424.

32 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Regions and Cities at a Glance, 2020, https://www.oecd.org/cfe/oecd-regions-and-cities-at-a-glance-26173212.htm. (accessed 17 January 2023); Martin, Ron, Gardiner, Ben, Pike, Andy, Sunley, Peter and Tyler, Peter, Levelling Up Left Behind Places: The scale and nature of the economic and policy challenge. London: Routledge, 2021.

33 Carreras et al., p. 1416.

34 Hay, Colin, Why We Hate Politics. Cambridge: Polity, 2007.

35 Quilter-Pinner, Harry, Statham, Rachel, Jennings, Will and Valgarosson, Viktor, Trust Issues: Dealing with Distrust in Politics, Institute for Public Policy Research, 2021, https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/trust-issues (accessed 16 January 2023).

36 Mattinson, op. cit.

37 Fukuyama, op. cit.

38 Elliott, op. cit., p. 4.

39 Evans and Tilley, op. cit., p. 200.

40 McCann, Philip and Ortega-Argiles, Raquel, ‘The UK “Geography of Discontent”: Narratives, Brexit and Inter-regional “Levelling Up”’Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 2021, 14, (3): 545-564.

41 Jennings, Will, McKay, Lawrence and Stoker, Gerry, ‘The Politics of Levelling Up’. The Political Quarterly, 2021, 92: 302-311. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-923X.13005

42 HM Government, 2022, op. cit.

43 Launched in September 2019, the Towns Fund allocates £3.6 billion to 100 towns selected through a bidding process to invest in local infrastructure and economic development. See https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/924503/20191031_Towns_Fund_prospectus.pdf

44 Launched in 2021, the Levelling Up Fund provides £4.8 billion to borough and district councils who have successfully bid ‘to invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK’. See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/levelling-up-fund-round-2-prospectus/levelling-up-fund-round-2-prospectus

45 OECD, op. cit.; Martin et al., 2021, op. cit. ; Martin, Ron, Pike, Andy, Sunley, Peter, Tyler, Peter and Gardiner, Ben, ‘“Levelling up” the UK: reinforcing the policy agenda’, Regional Studies, Regional Science, 2022, 9:1, 794-817, DOI: 10.1080/21681376.2022.2150562

46 Jennings et al., 2021, op. cit., p. 7; Martin et al., 2022, op. cit. 

47 McCann and Ortega-Argiles, op. cit.

48 Doherty, Catlin, ‘Inflation knows £170 million off value of local investment cash, new data suggests’, Politics Home, 2 February, 2023, https://www.politicshome.com/news/article/levelling-up-towns-fund-inflation-lisa-nandy (accessed 3 March 2023).

49 Marmot, Michael, ‘The Government’s Levelling Up Plan: A Missed Opportunity’, British Medical Journal, 2022: 367.

50 YouGov, ‘MRP: In no Levelling Up area do residents tend to think the local area has improved in recent years’, 19 January 2023, https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2023/01/19/mrp-no-levelling-area-do-residents-tend-think-loca

51 Newman, Jack, ‘The Ambiguous Ideology of Levelling Up’, The Political Quarterly, 2021, 92: 312-320. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-923X.13010

52 Ibid.

53 HM Government, 2022, op. cit.

54 Tomaney, John and Pike, Andy, ‘Levelling Up?’ The Political Quarterly, 2020, Vol. 91, No. 1, January–March: p. 44.

55 Tomaney, John and Pike, Andy, ‘Levelling Up: A Progress Report’, Political Insight, 2021, 12(2), p. 24, https://doi.org/10.1177/20419058211022935; Jennings et al., pp. 6-7.

56 Marmot, op. cit.

57 Hudson, Ray, ‘Levelling up’ in post-Brexit United Kingdom: Economic realism or political opportunism? Local Economy, 2022, 37(1–2), p 59. https://doi.org/10.1177/02690942221099480

58 Newman, op. cit.

59 HM Government, 2022, op. cit.

60 Sunak, Rishi, ‘My Commitment to Levelling Up Communities Across the UK’, Chamber, 16 December 2022b, https://chamberuk.com/rishi-sunak-levelling-up/ (accessed 13 January 2022).

61 Tomaney and Pike, 2020, op. cit., p. 46.

62 Martin et al., 2022, op. cit.

63 Connolly, John, Pyper, Robert and van der Zwet, Arno, ‘Governing ‘levelling-up’ in the UK: challenges and prospects’, Contemporary Social Science, 2021, p. 12, DOI: 10.1080/21582041.2021.1957495.

64 House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Governing England, HC 463, 2022, p. 6, https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/31418/documents/176171/default/ (accessed 13 January 2022).

65 Tomaney and Pike, 2020, op. cit., p. 46.

66 Hanretty, Chris, ‘The Pork Barrel Politics of the Towns Fund’, The Political Quarterly, 2021, 92: 7-13. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-923X.12970; Goodier, Michael, Duncan, Pamela, Halliday, Josh and Elgot, Jessica ‘“Slap in the Face”: Tory seats gain more from £4bn levelling up fund, analysis finds’, The Guardian, 19 January, 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/jan/19/tory-seats-gain-more-4bn-levelling-up-fund-finds-analysis

67 Jennings et al., op. cit., p. 5.

68 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit.

69 Hayhurst, Mark, ‘“Who were those People?”: The Labour Party and the Invisibility of the Working Class’. The Political Quarterly, 2020, 91, p. 143. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-923X.12789

70 Ibid.

71 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit., p. 7.

72 Ibid., p. 70.

73 Ibid., p. 84.

74 Ibid., p. 64.

75 Ibid., p. 72.

76 Ibid., p. 51.

77 Ibid., p. 97.

78 Ibid., p. 98.

79 Ibidem.

80 Ibid., p. 40.

81 Ibid., p. 41.

82 Ibid., p. 70.

83 Ibid., p. 96.

84 Ibid., p. 53.

85 Starmer, 2023, op. cit.

86 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit., p. 58.

87 Ibid., p. 79.

88 Labour Party, Alternative Models of Ownership, 2017, p. 31, https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Alternative-Models-of-Ownership.pdf (accessed 13 January 2022).

89 Berry, Christine and Guinan, Joe, People Get Ready: Preparing for a Corbyn Government. London: OR Books, 2019, p. 28.

90 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit., p. 98.

91 Monbiot, George (ed.) Land for the Many, Labour Party, 2019, p. 56. https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/12081_19-Land-for-the-Many.pdf (accessed 17 January 2023).

92 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit., p. 93.

93 Griffin, Sean Patrick, Remaking the British State: For the many, not the few, 2021, https://www.scottishlabourleft.co.uk/uploads/6/4/8/1/6481256/remaking_the_british_state_for_the_many_not_the_few_final_report_v2.pdf (accessed 17 January 2023).

94 Gamble, Andrew, ‘A Hundred Years of British Democracy’, Political Quarterly, 2019, vol. 90, n°1, p. 154.

95 Hall, Matthew, Marsh, David and Vines, Emma, ‘A Changing Democracy: Contemporary Challenges to the British Political Tradition’, Policy Studies, 2018, DOI: 10.1080/01442872.2018.1451504.

96 Chakrabortty, Aditya, ‘How One Community Beat the System, and Rebuilt Their Shattered Streets’, The Guardian, 14 February, 2018a, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/14/community-liverpool-residents-granby (accessed 17 January 2023).

97 Chakrabortty, Aditya, ‘The Town that Refused to Let Austerity Kill its Buses’, The Guardian, 6 June 2018b, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/11/post-industrial-plymouth-business-social-enterprise (accessed 17 January 2023).

98 Chakrabortty, Aditya, ‘Post-Industrial Plymouth was Broke. So It Took Business into its Own Hands’, The Guardian, 11 April, 2018c https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/11/post-industrial-plymouth-business-social-enterprise (accessed 17 January 2023).

99 Chakrabortty, Aditya, ‘Want to Save your Job and Make More Money? Buy Out your Boss’, and Rebuilt Their Shattered Streets’, The Guardian, 14 March, 2018d https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/14/workers-bosses-new-economics-series-employee-ownership (accessed 17 January 2023).

100 Chakrabortty, Aditya, ‘Yes, There is An Alternative. These People Have Shown How to “Take Back Control”’, The Guardian, 26 September, 2018e, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/26/alternatives-take-back-control-local-projects-austerity (accessed 17 January 2023).

101 Guinan, Joe and O’Neill, Martin, The Case for Community Wealth Building. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2020, pp. 1-2.

102 Ibid., p. 13.

103 Brown, Matthew and Jones, Rhian E., Paint Your Town Red: How Preston Took Back Control and Your Town Can Too. London: Repeater, 2021, p. 54.

104 Power, Helen and Goodwin, Tom Lloyd, Community Wealth Building: A History, CLES, 2021, https://cles.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/CWB-a-history-FINAL2.pdf (accessed 16 January 2023).

105 Brown and Jones, op. cit., pp. 68-70.

106 Ibid., pp. 62-3.

107 Whyman, Philip B., ‘The Economics of the Preston Model’ in Manley, Julian and Whyman, Philip B. (eds) The Preston Model and Community Wealth Building: Creating a Socio-economic Democracy for the Future. London: Routledge, 2021.

108 Brown and Jones, op. cit., p. 70.

109 Ibid., p. 73.

110 Prinos, Ioannis and Manley, Julian, ‘The Preston Model: Economic Democracy, Cooperation, and Paradoxes in Organisational and Social Identification’, Sociological Research Online, 2022, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/13607804211069398

111 Pidd, Helen ‘Labour’s Victories Show Importance of Localism and Positive Vision’, The Guardian, 8 May 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/may/08/labours-victories-show-importance-of-localism-and-positive-vision (accessed 16 January 2023).

112 Prinos and Manley, op. cit.

113 Borwn and Jones, op. cit., p. 74.

114 Ibid., p. 41.

115 Farred, Grant, ‘Endgame Identity? Mapping the New Left Roots of Identity Politics’, New Literary History, 2000, Vol. 31, No. 4: 627-648.

116 Moran, op. cit., p. 14.

117 Labour Party, 2022, op. cit., p. 79.

118 English, Patrick, ‘Is the Stereotypical Image of Red Wall Residents Actually Accurate’, YouGov¸17 May, 2021, https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2021/05/17/stereotypical-image-red-wall-residents-accurate (accessed 17 January 2023); Ford, Robert and Morris, Marley, A New Consensus? How Public Opinion Has Warmed to Immigration, IPPR, 2022, https://www.ippr.org/files/2022-11/a-new-consensus-november-22.pdf (accessed 17 January 2023).

119 Hobswbawm, op. cit.

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Emma Bell

Professeure de civilisation britannique à l’Université Savoie Mont Blanc

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