Britain is in the midst of an historic transformation. Over the past decade, a country once known around the globe for its stable politics has seemingly descended into chaos. Through a series of upheavals, the country's liberal establishment has been outflanked and a new alliance of voters has emerged, weakening the traditional divide between left and right. In trying to make sense of this, many commentators have turned to short-term explanations: dark money, the recession, the personalities of party leaders. But, as acclaimed political scientist Matthew Goodwin reveals in this strikingly original study, the remarkable turbulence of recent years has been a long time in the making-and it is set to continue for many years to come.
Embarking on a profound and ranging analysis of postwar British politics, Goodwin shows how the liberalising projects of the Thatcher and Blair years gave rise to new, cultural divides - over 'values,' 'voice,' and 'virtue' - which have now begun to define political debate and determine elections. Goodwin reveals why these uniquely powerful cultural divides are allowing the right to flourish as the left flounders, and argues that this imbalance has shifted British politics into an entirely new phase. In the absence of a unifying cultural narrative, we have decisively left behind the era of postwar consensus, and entered a new age of political volatility.