A working-class revolt against Labour

The spiked team react to the historic election.

Topics Brexit Politics UK

Will Labour ever recover from this remarkable defeat? Can the Tories really become a blue-collar party? What the hell happens now? Brendan O’Neill, Tom Slater and Fraser Myers discuss, on this week’s spiked podcast.

Picture by: Getty.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Jim Lawrie

15th December 2019 at 12:43 pm

What does he say in the context of the original article Danny?

Keith Lloyd

15th December 2019 at 10:27 am

I did notice, on analysis of the election results, that the Labour vote pretty much held up in areas with a large number of students and dominated by ethnic minorities. Any reasons?

Mike Ellwood

15th December 2019 at 4:27 pm

Possibly. But in my neighbouring constituency of Oxford East, for example, the sitting Labour MP (Anneliese Dodds) retained her seat, but lost votes. Looked like a lot of them went to the Lib Dems and the Green Party. The Tories actually lost votes compared to 2017. Oxford East is traditionally Labour, and contains what is left of the city’s industry, and has a varied ethnic population. But it also contains a lot of student accommodation as well (not all for the historic university; some is for Oxford Brookes). The turnout was also significantly down on 2017.

As elsewhere (although not to the same extent as in the “northern heartlands”), I think a lot of former Labour voters stayed at home.

steve moxon

15th December 2019 at 9:00 am

At long last people en mass have woken up to the fact that the Metropolitan elite ‘identity politics’ ‘PC’-fascists hate them.
Just wait until ordinary folk understand why: that’s when the poo will really hit the fan.
THE ORIGIN OF ‘IDENTITY POLITICS’ & ‘POLITICAL CORRECTNESS’: Not Consideration for Minorities but Hatred Towards the Mass of Ordinary People; Specifically ‘the Workers’ — Tracing the Roots of Why and How it Arose and Developed Reveals the Greatest Political Fraud in History.
‘Identity politics’ (often or even usually dubbed ‘political correctness’) is the result of a political-Left major backlash against the mass of ordinary people (in Europe and ‘the West’), beginning in the 1920s/30s, in the wake of the persistent failure of Marxist theory to be realised in European ‘revolution’ or any real change through democracy. In shifting the blame away from Marxist theory and its adherents, and on to those the theory had prescribed and predicted would have been the beneficiaries — the workers — if only they had responded accordingly; then the cognitive-dissonance within the political-left mindset caused by this crisis to an extent was salved. [It is NOT at all the same as what the Left mistakenly term ‘the politics of identity’ to tag the new movements against the elite, on the false assumption that they are essentially nationalistic and ‘white backlash’. Trump and Brexit triumphed because the general populace have come to realise that the government-media-education uber-class has an unwarranted profound contempt for and visceral hatred towards them; and, therefore hardly is liable to act in their interests.]
The intellectual rationalisation was first by invoking Freud’s now comprehensively discredited notion of ‘repression’ to attempt to explain a supposed impact on ‘the workers’ of ‘capitalism’ acting within the context of the family. With most workers (the group considered the principal ‘agents of social change’ in a ‘revolution’) being male, then the theoreticians had in mind the male as ‘head’ of the family. It was a simple extension in political-Left imagination for ‘the worker’ to change from being the putative conduit of the impact of ‘capitalism’ to its embodiment, leaving women to be deemed a replacement supposed ‘oppressed’ and ‘disadvantaged’ ‘group’.
This implausible and unfalsifiable non-scientific nonsense mainly festered within academia until the co-option after 1968 by the political-Left of a movement which appeared to be akin to the revolutionary activity predicted by Marxism: the US ‘civil rights’ movement. This added to the ‘new oppressed’ the category ‘non-white’, which like that of women could be envisaged as an inversion of a retrospective stereotype of ‘the worker’. In the wake of the similarly seeming revolutionary Stonewall riots of 1969, the ‘gay rights’ lobby was also co-opted to further add to the abstract demonised aspects of ‘the worker’, thereafter retrospectively stereotyped as male plus ‘white’ plus heterosexual.
The strands of the ‘new oppressed’ combined in a new (neo-Marxist) conceptualisation to account for these political shifts after the fact, which came to be termed ‘identity politics’ (or more pejoratively but accurately, ‘cultural Marxism’, and latterly dubbed ‘modernising’ [sic] in political parties). The deemed ‘groups’ replacing ‘the workers’ – subsequently expanded to embrace the disabled, the elderly, trans-sexuals and the obese – are abstractions rather than groups per se, and in any case far too heterogeneous to be in reality ‘oppressed’ or ‘disadvantaged’; providing a window on the sophistry and origin of this politics as other than it purports.
This absurd situation arose through the political-Left’s forcing of specific conflicts to be considered as emblematic of Marxist struggle, rendering them as generalisable, with their participants abstractions. US Afro-Americans became generic ‘ethnic minorities’, and ‘gays’ became ‘homosexuals’. The history of feminism — not just of the ‘third wave’ — is of upper-class or upper-middle-class women demanding to somehow to be the same as their very high-status husbands and males within their rarefied social milieu; which even if it could make any sense given profound sex difference, hardly was a basis of anything comparable for the great majority of either women or men. The upshot is that ‘identity politics’ is a ‘gravy train’ for the already privileged. Worse, it is an instrument of oppression against the very ‘group’ perennially disadvantaged and the victim of prejudice, which formerly had been identified as worthy of the liberation Marxism promised: the vast majority of (necessarily lower-status) men.
The pretence to egalitarianism is perfect cover for what ‘identity politics’ actually is: the very perennial and ubiquitous elitist-separatism the political-Left ethos attacks and denies; rendered a quasi-religion, being an ideology in the wake of the Christian notion of ‘the promised land’ in the utopia/dystopia of equality-of-outcome.

Gee Jaybee

15th December 2019 at 9:49 am


jan mozelewski

14th December 2019 at 10:40 pm

Yet you seem to despise them yourself with no trace of irony. I think you are Doyle. lol

jan mozelewski

15th December 2019 at 6:12 pm

I wrote this in answer to Zenobia/Doyle. heaven knows why its up here,,,,

Terry McAllGold

14th December 2019 at 3:53 pm

How is this ultra-free market government – led by super-wealthy aristocrats, not the people – going to help the working class, exactly? I get that the working class may feel that Labour no longer represents them. But these imperious, establishment, anti-poor Torys are going to throw us all to the wolves to line their own pockets. The notion that this is good for us and for democracy is horseshite.

Jim Lawrie

14th December 2019 at 5:30 pm

The alternative was complete loss of independence and grovelling to Brussels aka Berlin. The most craven of the anti-democrats switched to the Lib-Dems, the rest voted Labour and SNP.

Keeping what we have is the starting point for claiming back what was conceded by traitors.


14th December 2019 at 5:33 pm

“How is this ultra-free market government – led by super-wealthy aristocrats”. Are we talking about the Conservative Government ? They are centre left at best, what in their manifesto even hints at free markets? It is paternalistic, government knows best interference. Who are these aristocrats ?

Jim Lawrie

14th December 2019 at 5:34 pm

Not all those rallied around Churchill in WWII vote for him in 1945.

Your political purity is Pharisaic.


14th December 2019 at 7:47 pm

And your naivety is astonishing, Jim. The Tories take their orders from anonymous donors in the Cayman Islands and shady Russian oligarchs. The ordinary working woman or man means less than nothing to them, except where they can be fooled into voting Tory out of electoral expediency.

Those poor bast**ds in Sedgefield and Blyth are about to about to discover the meaning of the world ‘betrayal’.

Jim Lawrie

15th December 2019 at 12:43 am

Zenobia … naive .. anonymous … nameless .. and then the final condescension “those poor bastards”. Since you are clearly many levels above me then don’t waste your time replying to someone who is not capable of understanding your cryptic commentary. Cheerio.

Jerry Owen

15th December 2019 at 11:33 am

Do you actually realize how breathtakingly arrogant you are?
Your put down of ‘workers that voted tory’ is based on nothing except your own bigoted prejudices, and indeed wishful thinking.
You lost stop whinging for goodness sakes.

Michael Lynch

14th December 2019 at 9:32 pm

What!? You mean the ultra free market doyens in Brussels. The real villains who have pursued Global Economics in order to make a tiny elite richer and the rest of us poorer. The most fossil fuel greedy and anti climate friendly economic model ever known to mankind. A set of market principles that has stripped industry from Britain and devastated Northern areas of GB for decades. Do a bit of reading and thinking before you post dribble in future. At the very least, stop cherry picking facts to pursue your anti democratic arguments.

Brandy Cluster

14th December 2019 at 9:53 pm

You are valiantly trying to argue with a brainwashed Guardianista!! The site where the glass is always half empty.

Steve James

15th December 2019 at 4:19 pm

Maybe they won’t, but they claim to be the only party willing to respect and implement the result of the EU referendum. All the other parties (except the Brexit party, but then they helped the Tories win) were playing fast and loose with our democracy. It was unacceptable to most people.

anna livia fleischschleifer

14th December 2019 at 3:37 pm

Didn’t take long for the chimpout to commence.
Don’t know how the few remaining sane londoners cope with that screeching woke mob day in & out. Earplugs?


14th December 2019 at 3:15 pm

The fact that Corbyn hasn’t resigned yet demonstrates that he is an even bigger shameless fool than we all thought. Marxist anti-Semite hypocrite.


14th December 2019 at 3:14 pm

All those northern English numpties who voted Tory are about to spend the next five years learning about the meaning of the word ‘betrayal’. You thought Labour was bad (and they are) but there is no telling what havoc Boris and his capitalist chums will wreak upon the poor and despised of this country…

anna livia fleischschleifer

14th December 2019 at 3:42 pm

The lesser bad is still lesser bad than the absolute worst. Personally, i would have preferred Anne Marie Waters’ ‘For Britain’ party being on the menu as a viable choice, but oh well.
(Not that i could have voted anyway, being a foreigner.)

jessica christon

15th December 2019 at 1:02 pm

@Anna Livia it may well be a choice next time if Johnson doesn’t lead from the right, especially on immigration and crime. The Brexit Party is finished for the time being at least, so I think those of us more inclined to the right will be looking for something to keep the Tories from straying too far into wokedom. They’ve already backed away from some of their more stupid proposals – like gender self identification – and personally I would like to see them keep it moving in this direction.

And for those other people talking about how working class communities are about to see real ‘betrayal’ under the Tories – stop. Whatever you think about Thatcher, she recognised something that is as true now as it was then; the working class predominantly are not left wing or liberals. We are ‘small c’ conservatives who like our traditional community and family structures, recognise two sexes, want immigration to be controlled and beneficial to *us*, want crime punished properly and hard work and innovation rewarded fairly, and above all we despise woke culture and all of its attendant victimologies. I don’t see the Tories delivering any worse than Labour on that front.

James Knight

14th December 2019 at 2:23 pm

The danger now is they are all trying to hang it all on Corbyn. Guardianistas and Labour activists who two days ago were imploring us to vote for Corbyn are now turning on him with a vengeance. Patricia Hodge tells us they have to elect a woman to replace Corbyn. Don’t they realise that the traditional labour voters who rejected them are not likely to be impressed by sectarian woke politics? As Alan Johnson put it referring to Corbynistas: “Get back to student politics”. I suppose it is easier to say elect a woman than say what Labour should stand for.

For years labour was smugly watching the Tory party tear itself apart over Europe. But that hid the fact that Brexit was a much more profound existential crisis for Labour. They are going to have to come up with something better than hanging it all on Corbyn or playing gender politics by putting a woman in charge.

Michael Lynch

14th December 2019 at 5:02 pm

They’ll put Thornberry or Phillips in charge. A choice between an insufferable snob and a pretend ‘Brummie’. Long-Bailey, the obdurate Starmer and little Benn are just as bad. If they do then they are finished for years. Thornberry, who has ridden to power on the gender quotient, thinks herself so capable and one of Labour’s greatest assists simply because she is a woman. In reality, she’s a liability and has been a gift to the Tories. She stuffed Milliband with her ‘white van man’ tweet and did for Corbyn with her ridiculous negotiation proposal. They ought to bring back Spitting Image and model her puppet on Napoleon; the pig from Orwell’s Animal Farm. We are all equal except Emily, who sincerely beliefs she is more equal than others.

Bella Donna

15th December 2019 at 3:08 pm

Excellent comment. Thornbelly is a definite no no but there isn’t a lot of sense within the Labour Party. MacDonald thinks Long Bailey would make a good leader. God help us!

Mike Ellwood

15th December 2019 at 4:02 pm

With Phillips in charge, it should at least be “a laff”. Wonder how many times she will mention Jo Cox in her first leader’s speech?

Brandy Cluster

14th December 2019 at 9:55 pm

“The Guardian” never had a scintilla of credibility, nor will it ever have beyond undergraduates going forward. What makes me laugh is the bourgeois camouflage all about “culture”!!

Neil McCaughan

14th December 2019 at 2:15 pm

Just try out these new phrases for size

“the Tory heartlands of Durham and the North East”

“Conservative former mining areas”

to savour Jeremy Corbyn’s achievement.

Jim Lawrie

14th December 2019 at 1:19 pm

Spot on Mr O’Neill when you say it was Labour’s choice to walk the path that they did and that they took it because they preferred the people down there. If they part company with that lot, they must resign themselves to the loss of millions of votes to the Lib-Dems who better reflect their hatred if the white working class. Labour would then have to rebuild from scratch.

The Lib-Dems are looking for a new leader and I cannot think of anyone who fits the bill better than Tony Blair. So get in there son. You know you want to. And he would take New Labour with him. A match made in Hampstead.

Keith Lloyd

15th December 2019 at 12:48 pm

I do agree that there is a considerable loathing within Labour ranks for the ‘white working class’. It is noticeable that the ‘white working class’ voters got their revenge. Labour generally maintained their support in areas with large ethnic minority populations and large numbers of resident students.

Mike Ellwood

15th December 2019 at 4:14 pm

From the results I’ve looked at in any detail, I think former Labour voters mainly got their revenge by staying at home. True, some voted for the Brexit party, and some may have voted Tory, and Remainers may have voted LibDem or Green. So I think it’s fair to say that Labour lost this election, rather than that the Tories won it. I don’t think the Tories won over many “Labour heartland” former Labour voters.


14th December 2019 at 1:00 pm

I don’t care. I’m moving to a liberal, open-minded, progressive republic called Ireland. English nationalism is vile poison.


anna livia fleischschleifer

14th December 2019 at 3:52 pm

Good luck with that.
Shall you ever venture beyond the pale, you will still find many quaint old paddies nursing their pints telling you that “Hitler wasn’t such a bad chap, after all he fought the English”. Anglophobia runs deep indeed.
Still, a lovely little island (esp. if you don’t mind the rain) with eminently pleasant people. Dublin is a bit bleh though, if you want to stick to ‘cities’ i recommend Cork in every possible aspect.

Neil McCaughan

14th December 2019 at 6:39 pm

Whereas Fenian and Scotch nationalism are lovely?
You are a fool.


14th December 2019 at 7:49 pm

Fenian Nationalism was entirely necessary given how you treated the Irish for 800 years. You starved over 1.5 million to death in the mid -1800s. I would say their antipathy was entirely moral and justified. How would you feel if your country were destroyed by an occupying power?

Lloyd Reid

14th December 2019 at 8:08 pm

Those northern towns were already betrayed for years by Labour then an out of touch Marxist elite. Boris has already been there today. Ireland progressive! If it’s not what you expect don’t bother coming back.

Brandy Cluster

14th December 2019 at 9:56 pm


Ho Leephuc

14th December 2019 at 12:38 pm

“The Working Class didn’t leave the Labour Party, the Labour Party left us.”
(Citizen Se7en)

Brandy Cluster

14th December 2019 at 10:00 pm

Do read what George Orwell said about socialists and how they viewed the working class – in the 1930s. It’s an eye-opener and Orwell framed it with an us-versus-them trope: “the educated, bourgeois socialists disliked the working class and hated the rich”. Welcome to the 21st century.

These same poor, but resilient, working classes described by Orwell in “The Road to Wigan Pier” did all the dying – signing up to WW2 – and going into uniform, which finally gave them the dignity of work and a purpose in life after lengthy and debilitating periods of unemployment in the mining areas. We all know what happened to many of them after that. Whatever do the sneering classes who vote Labour these days know at all about any of this? Ergo, it isn’t just the Tories who’ve abandoned this class.

jan mozelewski

15th December 2019 at 6:14 pm

Spot on.

jan mozelewski

14th December 2019 at 12:23 pm

I see the process of rationalizing this defeat has begun in earnest, led by our glorious BBC and others and their ever greater dependency on online followers.
What becomes ever more clear is that you simply cannot use the facts to reason with people in the grip of political or religious fervour.(This has aspects of both.) you may shock them briefly but then they will ‘take some time to reflect’ and reach into their ragbag of ideology and rationalise in a way that means they can carry on within the safety of their world view.
Its rather like trying to reason with someone in love with a psycho. No amount of clear sensible facts will hold sway…that person will always find an excuse for the behaviour of their loved one.
In a situation like this, the penny drops for more and more people over time. Gradually the scales fall away. those who are left simply double up on denial. it is as plain as a pikestaff to the sensible majority of the population that labour have lost the plot and their remain flirtation to keep the metros on board with Corbynism has lead to a wholesale rejection of them by their working class voters of yore.
eventually, of course, so many people will tumble to this that the rabidly myopic at the core will be sitting on their won like the Popular People’s Front of Judea.

John Reic

14th December 2019 at 7:39 am

It goes back further then Mrs Duffy, back to the days of the McPherson report was justified to say that Diane Abbott’s comments all white working class People are racist, was accurate

H McLean

13th December 2019 at 10:02 pm

When you see condescending socialists like Laura Pidcock, who clearly despise the people they’re meant to be representing, being fast-tracked into prominence in Labour it becomes clear they regard their traditional working class supporters as too stupid and bovine to mount any serious objection. Hopefully this is the beginning of a widespread recognition of how the left uses the politics of hate to divide and manipulate people.

James Knight

13th December 2019 at 7:42 pm

Corbyn is already blaming the meedjah for this defeat. Won’t be long before some of the momentum activists start blaming a Zionist conspiracy. I mean, “everyone knows” who controls the media, right?

Danny Rees

13th December 2019 at 9:31 pm

But the media won it for Labour in 1997.

Jim Lawrie

14th December 2019 at 12:24 pm

Already there are howls that the media was all on the side of The Conservatives. I’ve never voted Labour or Conservative, but from where I was standing most of the media was pillorying Boris Johnson. As were The Law Courts.

Brandy Cluster

14th December 2019 at 10:02 pm

I note on the evening news (in Australia) last night that there are rowdy activists in London already protesting about the election outcome. Again, it’s always the Left which is the most dangerous.

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13th December 2019 at 6:04 pm

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Stewart Ware

14th December 2019 at 4:03 am

Stop spamming and go away.


14th December 2019 at 1:02 pm

No, Stewart. We all have the right to spam!

anna livia fleischschleifer

14th December 2019 at 3:31 pm

tofowa tofowa tofowa mbobo kekeke

Is that you, David Lammy?

Michael Lynch

14th December 2019 at 4:33 pm

Classic. Best comment of the year. Had me in stitches. Thank you.

Jim Lawrie

15th December 2019 at 1:06 pm

Or David Scammy?


15th December 2019 at 2:46 pm

You’re not in the least bit racist, are you?

Danny Rees

13th December 2019 at 4:53 pm

The Labour party in his current form must truly be utter shit if working class people would rather vote for a Tory who says this about working class men


Michael Lynch

13th December 2019 at 7:28 pm

Danny, old chap, don’t you think you’re a little bit irrelevant now. I mean, what’s the point of going on and on about the same old tripe. You lost the first time around and now you’ve lost again. Continuing to bang your head against a brick wall is the definition of insanity.

Danny Rees

13th December 2019 at 9:30 pm

Clearly you are someone trolling for my attention.

Therefore you are muted.

Joseph Brown

14th December 2019 at 10:54 am

He’s not wrong though, Danny. You’re flogging a very dead horse at this point. Time to move on less you embarrass yourself further.

Brandy Cluster

14th December 2019 at 10:04 pm

I think you’ll find it’s more ‘equal opportunity’ these days – ALL men are now regarded as ‘toxic’, irrespective of class.

James Knight

13th December 2019 at 4:11 pm

I think the clue was when we saw ex miners being interviewed saying they were voting Tory. Only 3 days ago the Guardian had an article by Ash Sarkar proclaiming “It’s a myth that labour has lost the working class”.

Comedy gold, that one.

Ven Oods

13th December 2019 at 4:38 pm

“It’s a myth that labour has lost the working class”.

They’re now hoping it’s ‘temporarily misplaced’.

Jim Lawrie

14th December 2019 at 12:51 pm

Talk of the small overall gain for The Conservatives misses the point. It is the shift that matters. A line has been crossed and few will go back to what they were. Hundreds of thousands will now put their first foot onto the first step of the property ladder with confidence. Many older people will now happily downsize as the market picks up, and no doubt help their children and grandchildren with the proceeds. Hopefully youngsters will start to spit out the poisonous and divisive politics of blame the left have fed them.

BTW my advice is that with interest rates and house prices rising, don’t delay.

Danny Rees

13th December 2019 at 4:55 pm

Labour lost working class people who read The Sun.

When they get them on side again, like they did in 1997 (when The Sun backed Blair’s New Labour) they will be back in power.

John Reic

14th December 2019 at 7:39 am

no Danny the literally 300 working class people I know who were on the picket lines against Thatcher as Nurses ,printers or Mines don’t read the sun, admittedly some abstained

Brandy Cluster

14th December 2019 at 10:08 pm

@Jim Lawrie. Completely agree. Think about this; the Left is largely on the run politically the democratic world over. All the hung parliaments where lefties have had to make ‘agreements’ – now and in the past. Trudeau in Canada, Ardern in NZ, the Labor Party in Australia in 2010. European governments have had to wait ages to find out who will lead because of ‘hung’ parliaments. Austria, Germany to name two.

Will be interesting to see what happens in the USA in a year’s time. The Democrats moved away from their core business with Obama – and spent 6 years celebrating diversity while the country wasted away economically.

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