‘Truth to tell: populism and the immigration debate’, LSE Politics and Policy, 1 March 2017.

Tim Bale's Blog

We are living in a world where it’s no longer ‘the economy, stupid’. That’s not to say real wages, the cost of living, and tax-and-spend don’t matter to people anymore. Clearly, they still do. But they no longer trump nearly everything else when voters make up their minds. Politics has always been multidimensional, of course. It’s that analysts of voting behaviour and public opinion used to be able to conveniently collapse most of these dimensions into the left-right spectrum. Nowadays, that’s becoming harder and harder to do.

In the United Kingdom, as in many European countries, that familiar horizontal axis is now being intersected by another, vertical one. Call it what you will – GAL-TAN (Green, Alternative, Libertarian – Tradition, Authoritarian, Nationalist), demarcation-integration, communitarian-cosmopolitan or simply open-closed – this dimension suddenly seems to matter much more than it used to. Certainly, it helps explain why 52 per cent of those…

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