Party politics: Realignment or disintegration?

The 2017 election saw the largest combined vote share for the two major parties since 1970 but Labour and the Conservatives can hardly be said to be in rude health. 2017 was also one of the most volatile elections in modern history, with a high rate of vote-switching from 2015. The Leave vote in 2016 produced turmoil among Britain’s political class, with no party seemingly able to articulate or capitalise on the Brexit spirit. Britain’s parties appear to be increasingly hollow, held together not so much by shared ideology or class interests but by coalitions of convenience. Rival factions dare not break away and risk giving up the party machinery and ‘brand recognition.’ Is there a space for a new politics or new parties or should we expect the old parties to make a comeback?

Filmed at the Battle of Ideas 2017, the speakers are Alex Deane, Paul Embery, Matthew Goodwin, Resham Kotecha and Tom Slater. The chair is Joel Cohen.

Battle of Ideas session details