The Changing Shape of Politics

Rethinking Left and Right in a New Britain

  • Jonathan Wheatley

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Jonathan Wheatley
    Pages 27-43
  3. Jonathan Wheatley
    Pages 45-69
  4. Jonathan Wheatley
    Pages 71-93
  5. Jonathan Wheatley
    Pages 95-110
  6. Jonathan Wheatley
    Pages 111-124
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 125-173

About this book


"A lucid, evidence-packed analysis which persuasively argues that, in an age of austerity and insecurity, where we might have expected economic concerns to trump everything else, cultural rather than class differences now constitute the essential terrain on which today’s (and tomorrow’s) political battles will be fought."
—Tim Bale, Queen Mary University of London, UK

This book investigates whether politics in Britain in the twenty-first century is driven more by issues of culture and identity than by “left versus right” issues of wealth distribution. Drawing from a number of opinion surveys, it explores the shifting positions of voters on both economic matters and matters of culture and identity. It finds that between 2015 and 2017 support for Britain's main political parties became much more predicated on issues of culture and identity, reflecting a radical change in how parties attract voters. In the longer-term, it suggests that issues of culture and identity have become more salient overall, possibly because of the oft-cited divide between winners and losers of globalisation. The book ends by speculating on why politics has become more polarised on these issues, rather than on the economic fallout of globalisation, and suggests that an explanation is to be found in changing forms of political communication between voters and politicians.

Jonathan Wheatley is a lecturer in Comparative Politics at Oxford Brookes University, UK. He has published widely on democratization in post-communist countries; parties, party systems and political cleavages in both established and developing democracies; and the development and deployment of voting advice applications (VAAs).


elections EU referendum class voting Scotland ideological dimensions cleavages TAN/GAL identifying dimensions survey data mapping party voters Mokken Scale Analysis polarisation immigration Scottish independence referendum vote choice European political parties "winners" and "losers" of globalisation electoral systems populist right parties hegemonic order

Authors and affiliations

  • Jonathan Wheatley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesOxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK

Bibliographic information