Geography is more likely to dictate voting patterns in modern Britain than “class” or even income. Well-off people in the north are more likely to vote Labour and poor people in Kent are more likely to vote Conservative:
“The north has wealthy suburbs, like South Wirral, west of Liverpool. They vote Labour. The south has impoverished pockets, like north-east Kent. They vote Conservative.”
As well as geography dictating political behaviour there is good evidence that genetics may play a role as well. Twin studies unequivocally demonstrate the heritability of politically related behaviour. A collection of a dozen genes might be responsible for inclining people towards liberalism or conservatism. There are no genes for socialism or conservatism, or for prejudice or tolerance, any more than there are genes for Christianity or Islam. But a person’s genes can sometimes propel them more easily in one direction than another. Free will is a little freer to turn right than left, or vice versa. Of course genes are inherited and tend to cluster in particular regions, even in today’s highly connected world.
It seems that reason, logic and informed debate play a smaller role in forming our voting patters than we might hope. This means the electorate has less flexibility and “free will” to change the Government according to the prevailing needs of the nation.
This is a particular concern at present as the overwhelming need is to reduce the cataclysmic UK budget deficit and national debt. Each year we borrow more than 100 billion pounds that is swelling a debt that is already over a trillion pounds. Tax increases will not get near reducing the deficit, let alone the debt, so massive spending cuts are inevitable. We need to understand from each political party how they will manage our country’s new financial reality.
Even if the Labour leaders understood the need for reducing our colossal debt, their Union paymasters and back-benchers would not let them reduce public spending. The country should feel that there are other political parties that have more currently relevant instincts towards wealth creation, rather than wealth spending, and a strong, historically proven philosophical belief in a smaller State supported by lower public spending.
Even for entrenched Labour supporters there should be an understanding that there is a time and a place for Labour policies. And that time is not now. For the good of the nation many traditional Labour supporters must be persuaded to hold their nose and vote for somebody else. Unfortunately it seems they have less free will to change their vote according to circumstance than we might hope.