One-thousand-one-hundred-and-ninety-one years ago in 827AD, the first monarch was established to rule over all of Anglo-Saxon England. King Egbert’s appointment began an era of politically right leaders which would last for centuries to come. British nobility embodied everything that characterises extreme Conservatism, as Roger Eatwell argues, the ideology of the right contains four traits: anti-democracy, nationalism, racism and a strong state. All features of Kings and Queens who have long fought to retain their power against those of other religions or races. Thus, this island nation had been ruled by the right from the day of Egbert’s appointment to the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 when Parliament finally asserted its’ power over royalty. From that point onwards our political system has shifted continuously to the left. The first Parliament formed contained the Whigs and the Tories but what was once the Whig Party is now either the Liberal Democrats or the Labour Party. And the Tories of 1678 who opposed democracy are certainly different to Theresa May’s modern day Conservative and Unionist Party.
This gradual shift to the left can be seen by the death of UKIP in a post-Brexit world. Or by the fall of BNP membership to just 3000. It can be evidenced by the successes for Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 snap election when his party gained 31 net seats and won 63% of votes from 18-34 year olds. The age at which a voter is more likely to vote blue than red is now 47 – up from 34 in the 2015 election, proof that times are changing. In fact, one has to go no further than any festival to hear the chants of the Labour leader’s name. A man who breaks every rule in the book of how to be a traditional statesman. This very revolution is explained by voters who have concerns about issues such as LGBTQ+ rights, ethnic or gender inequality and climate change. These major challenges coupled with rising student debts make millennials more likely to turn to the left for their help. In addition every generation sees rebellion of their parents to be the trendy thing: the 60s brought the hippie movement, the 70s brought disco and the 80s brought punk rock, does the 2010s bring socialism?
This transition is paralleled across the world in many other developed Western nations. It was seen across the pond with Bernie Sanders winning more 18-29 voters than both Clinton and Trump combined. Equally, Macron’s victory over Le Pen in France showed a similar move towards socialism.
With Conservative voters becoming a dying species, it begs serious questions: is Britain heading in the left direction? How long will it be before the Conservative Party is obsolete and is their demise preventable?
As 19th century historian and statesman François Guizot first said, “Not to be a republican at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head.” How long will it be before being a republican is proof of want of head?