Blogging the Bookshelf

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The Aspirational Classes; The Pivot of the Progressive Movement – “The Unfinished Revolution: How New Labour Changed British Politics Forever” – Philip Gould

January 4th, 2012 · No Comments · Campaigning, Democracy, Electoralism, Ideology, Leadership, Means and Ends, Political Communication, Politics, Progressive Politics, Socialism, UK Labour, United Kingdom

In December 1989 BMP had developed the concept of the ‘aspirational classes’. They argued that the key determinants of the next election would be ‘financial well-being: spending power, taxation, interest rates’. Qualitative research conducted at the time showed that despite the recession, Labour was seen as more likely to accentuate economic difficulties than the Conservatives. The key target group was the aspirational classes – working-class achievers and the middle class under pressure. This is the group I came to call the new middle class. I define them as those people who call themselves middle- and upper-working-class, estimated by the British Social Attitudes survey to comprise 50 per cent of the population. I came from this class and believe I understand it. It is the pivot around which progressive politics must revolve.

It’s bold to define the aspirational class as the ‘pivot’ of progressive politics, but I think it’s both justified and pragmatic. What is the progressive movement about if not lifting people up? And given the demographic shrinkage of the ‘working class’ as traditionally understood, new groups needed to be embraced to form a governing coalition for progressive politics…

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