The “Progressive Majority” Delusion

The noisy progressives in our public life are forever claiming there is a “progressive majority” in Britain. If it was not for Murdoch, the City and the editor of the Daily Mail they would lead us into the social democratic utopia that the people so desire. That is basically the underlying worldview of many at the BBC, Guardian editorial meetings and the young wonks in the think-tanks around Ed Miliband. Tony Blair understood that this was a delusion which electorally crippled the Labour Party and the somewhat flakier LibDems. He fashioned a left-of-centre platform which addressed the real concerns of voters.

The British people are sceptical about “progressives”, their language and their disconnection from the reality of  their lives. The “progressive” idea that switching to the Alternative Vote was important to ordinary people, who are not on the whole interested in politics, was delusional. There is no untapped progressive majority outside the media and political elites.

It is one thing to be youthful and idealistically progressive, believing if only we cared and shared everything would be alright. When you become a taxpayer, parent or home owner you are mugged by reality. Caring and sharing with your family becomes your priority, that is human nature. The amount of your salary that goes to HMRC, the fear of crime, a desire for better schools for your children and the cost of petrol become more important priorities. Guido speaks to Labour Party supporters who think that Ed Miliband is overly influenced by “progressive” voices, his support for switching to the Alternative Vote shows that in truth Ed Miliband is himself a “progressive”. Voters are not.



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Andy Burnham, an MP at Westminster since 2001:

“I’m not a Westminster politician. Never have been.”

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