Almost six in ten Britons feel politically homeless
A widespread feeling of dissatisfaction pervades across the country
Close to six in 10 Britons say that there is no political party they like, according to the latest polling from UnHerd Britain. 58% of voters agree with the statement, “Frankly, there is no political party I actually like.” Just 22% indicate that they like what’s on offer. This is a resounding “none of the above” rejection of the Westminster Inn’s political menu.
The political disenchantment is widespread. Among the electorate, 57% of Remainers and 58% of Leavers, 59% of white people and 53% of non-whites, 58% of under-25s and 53% of over-50s are dissatisfied with their political options. Meanwhile, women are somewhat more disaffected with their choices (61%) than men (55%).
Like what you’re reading? Get the free UnHerd daily email
Already registered? Sign in
The map below shows the constituencies that deviate from the average in each direction, confirming the picture that non-metropolitan England feels the least well represented; however it should be emphasised that, while the residents of South Derbyshire or Amber Valley in the East Midlands are less enthusiastic about their choices (66%) than voters in Orkney and Shetland (52%), the typical constituency deviates by just 2% around the national average on this question. A map that showed the overall result would be an unbroken sea of green — representing political disenchantment across the land.
Scots are happier than other Britons with their options, with Scottish National Party (SNP) voters (before the departure of Nicola Sturgeon) having the lowest level of dissatisfaction. Yet, even here, more SNP supporters agreed that there was no party they liked (43%) than disagreed (37%).
Figure 1 above shows that voters for minor parties (aside from the SNP and Plaid Cymru) are the most disenchanted. Nevertheless, what makes the biggest impact in statistical models predicting dissatisfaction is the fact that Conservative voters are nearly 10 points more alienated than their Labour counterparts (59% to 50%). A third of 2019 Tory voters say Britain was wrong to leave the EU, and disillusionment is considerably greater among them (64%) than among those who are still in favour of Brexit (55%). This hints at problems for the Tories in the Blue Wall seats of southern England.
Figure 2 above reveals that those who hold what I term ‘libertarian populist’ views (based on a desire for freedom from government) are more politically homeless than other voters. Among those who feel that no party represents them are 68% of those who think lockdowns were a mistake, 65% of those who say the world is controlled by a secretive elite, and 64% of the total who say the Government spends too much time on green issues. Only a fifth to a quarter of these voters feel represented by a political party. On balance, they tilted somewhat more to the Conservatives than to Labour in 2019, exposing the Tories to greater potential vote losses in 2024.
Finally, just a fifth of those who say immigration levels are too high are satisfied with the current crop of parties. With nearly half of these voters plumping for Boris Johnson in 2019, the Conservatives again stand to lose most from the mood of disaffection. In a statistical model of the “no party I like” question, immigration attitudes are one of the most important predictors of alienation once demographics, age and views on Brexit have been accounted for. Thus, just 49% of pro-immigration Brexiteers say there is no party they like, compared to 65% of anti-immigration Remainers.
Though the desire to reduce immigration was the most important predictor of voting to leave the European Union, the Conservatives have since presided over a loosening of immigration rules, record-breaking migration levels and a rise in cross-channel illegal immigration. Once again, a mainly Tory bloc of voters is the most irritated.
All told, this data shows a powerful mood of disaffection in the country, with barely a fifth of voters satisfied with today’s political options. Tory voters are particularly unhappy, which spells trouble ahead for Rishi Sunak unless he is able to fulfil key pledges like tackling the cost of living, stopping the boats and reducing waiting times in the NHS.
I consider myself to be a Classic Liberal, which is:
…a branch of liberalism that advocates free market and laissez-faire economics; civil liberties under the rule of law with special emphasis on individual autonomy, limited government, economic freedom, political freedom and freedom of speech.
None of the present day parties are close to this Wikipedia definition, or even variants of it. Most MPs are time serving bureaucrats working in a political machine to support a global corporatism.
So no, I am not at all surprised, frankly, that many people find no party to like.
The whole practice of politics, the elected politicians and the government employees together, these days seems to work in active opposition to anything resembling Classic Liberal.
One might contend exposure to ‘free market and laissez-faire economics’ a major cause of the malaise. Suspect alot of respondents would concur with that.
I suspect they would, but that doesn’t make it true. Government spending as proportion of GDP doubled in the years 1960-1980 and continued to grow proportionally under Thatcher, Blair etc.
We’ve come a long way from classical economics.
In theory, yes. We have the worst of all worlds with an ever expanding state taking more and doing more with ever increasing inefficiency.
I’ll agree that ‘free market and laissez-faire economics’ is a rough and ready version of economics; people do lose their employment or suffer because of it. And yet I would assert economic history demonstrates that ‘fiddling’ with the economy or even exerting state control of the economy is destined to fail, sometimes very badly.
Regardless of ideology, I don’t think any of the main parties stand for anything in particular. A good portion of Conservative MP’s would probably be embarrassed if you called them conservative or “right-wing”. Ditto for Labour (certainly the Shadow Cabinet anyway) and anything regarding socialism or “left-wing”. In the end, we just get this messy hodgepodge of what they think people want, but actually don’t.
For the most part they appear to be interchangeable bureaucrats who cosplay as politicians when they need their contracts renewed.
Speaking as a bureaucrat myself, not sure why they would choose a job with such low security in that case. May as well advocate for what you believe in if you choose to go down that route.
At least I’ll still be around come what may, can’t speak for these politicians in the long run.
I never realized I was a classic liberal all these years. The above definition sounds like someone from the “vast right wing conspiracy”, to quote a well-known, American, extremely disliked female former politician with thick ankles.
I had made another comment in reply to another poster who had said nothing objectionable at the time, just disagreement, and he was critical of laissez-faire economics, but both his and my comments disappeared – but not from the “my comments” history.
My comment went thus: “I suspect they would, but that doesn’t make it true. Government spending as proportion of GDP doubled in the years 1960-1980 and continued to grow proportionally under Thatcher, Blair etc. We’ve come a long way from classical economics.”
(and now both comments have reappeared above – sorry for the repetition. My first experience of the moderating process)
Very well said. Indeed, all the parties in their official ideologies are now so confused and mutually compromised that they represent no tradition of belief at all. The Conservative party is far less than Conservative and the interests of labour are nowhere near the heart of the so-called Labour party. The most signally adrift are the soi-disant Liberals whose commitment to the list of good causes you supply is all but non-existent.
Please can UnHerd discuss the planned global WHO treaty on pandemics. This is going through Parliament now. It gives the WHO (unelected) rights to call for lockdowns in individual states, it says that the WHO can dictate where vaccine is made and by which companies, it can give the WHO rights to ban all international travel for the whole world.
It has already been decided that signatories will agree that the agreement is legally binding.
The WHO will literally be able to control the world.
See https://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=GkhjH2ySMUw. The Conservative MP for Leicester North, Andrew Bridgen, addresses the Parliamentary committee for about 10 minutes and every word is chilling.
Fringe extremists such as Bridgen are one of the reasons why the electorate feels disenfranchised.
Bridgen has had the whip withdrawn.
This is an issue for you? What a sheltered life you’ve led
If what Chris says is true then it ought to be an issue for everyone
Of course it is true. Please read up.
The WHO can’t order states to do anything, they can merely recommend. Countries May ban flights from infected locations as a result of that advice, but that’s it. Any treaty will involve states agreeing to follow WHO advice where necessary but they can still decide not to if the WHO has over stepped the mark.
So this is clearly not a case of the WHO trying to take over the world. That statement is clear hyperbole and Bridgen lost the plot months ago.
“Frankly, there is no political party I actually like.”
By inserting the word ‘frankly’ at the start of the statement it would appear to nudge the person into a negative response.
The results however are no real surprise, UK politics is a wasteland.
The point you make about the use of “Frankly” is an absolute howler when conducting a poll. Someone at Unherd Britain should hang their head in shame.
Most of their recent polls have had unusually phrased questions – I’m deeply suspicious of all of them (I happen to agree with the conclusion of this one, but question the poling methodology)
Unsurprising really. We are in the middle of a transition from the politics of labour Vs capital to those of local Vs global and democratic Vs elitist. The party system does not yet reflect these cleavages because both parties are controlled by oligarchies, Labour by the deep state and Conservatives by the global financial institutions.
That needs to change.
How? You’ve given us your complaint. What is your solution?
Changing the electoral system to PR would be a start. At the very least, it would shatter the duopoly.
I’d liken this political situation, to really fancying a nice lager, wondering into a boozer and the only options are Carling and Fosters; and judging by the state of the place, you know they probably haven’t cleaned their lines out in about 30 years, either.
I am certainly one of them. Living in a virtual “one party state” doesn’t help. Same party has held the Parliamentary seat in the 36 years I have lived in it, and holds 48 out of 51 Council seats. There’s not much practical point in voting, really, although I would consider myself a political animal.
I used to take a crumb of comfort in knowing that even though I didn’t support the local ruling party, my vote would at least count in the national total of votes cast. But since I now dislike and/or distrust all the parties, even that crumb has blown away.
All that remains is to write “None of These” on the ballot paper: democracy in action.
Perhaps you could move?
There must be someone to vote for surely? If not why don’t YOU stand as an independent,
Because in the safe seats there’s little point, you’d merely lose your deposit
And even in the marginal ones, it just becomes a two horse race where people vote against the party they don’t want to win rather than one they do want to win.
Sounds like a pretty big constituency ripe for change.
Lots of money
A charismatic leader with an existing big profile
A proper organisational structure capable of fielding and supporting credible candidates.
Social media gurus
The SDP’s policy platform
Surely not beyond the wit of man.
You’re right about everything bar the last point.
It’s a real pity that seats couldn’t be left empty if not enough people vote for the candidates. If there were a threshold for candidates to get in, then people not voting at all would be able to have an impact, a kind of voter strike if you will.
For that to be effective one would also have to require that in any parliamentary vote on any motion introduced by the government, all such empty Commons seats count as votes against. Otherwise they will just be ignored.
I suggest that we use a proportional voting system, with the final choice being “none of the above”. If “none of the above” wins, then the election must be held again with none of the failed parties, or failed candidates, allowed to stand.
As I have said before, the landslide victory is there for a new political party that champions freedom of speech, citizens freedoms and openly stands up against the lbgt racism eco national socialist agenda.
Yea there is
Living in the post democratic age, we vote in parties so that they can impose their ideology upon us.
We’d have been amazed at any other results wouldn’t we?
Remainers still angry/grumpy about being dragged out of EU on a perceived pack of lies. Leavers furious, embarrassed and disillusioned it’s not delivered it’s promises and in fact made things worse. Coupled with cost of living crisis, some shockingly bad PMs and melt down in many key public services. It’s a cocktail we wouldn’t expect to be kind on the palate.
Was there no proof-reader at Unherd sharp enough to see something superfluous in a sub-heading that reads “A widespread feeling of dissatisfaction pervades across the country.“ ?
I’m a small ‘c’ conservative and I have no political.home. The Tories are not conservative and as for the rest they are actively repellent especially the Greens and Lib Dems.
What your country needs is a populist right much like the Paleo-Conservatives under Pat Buchanan in the US (with a faint echo in the shape of the Donald). The Tories are just too pro-business while not realizing that capitalism is deeply subversive of traditional values and ways of life. Some would call this radical reactionaries (Paul Kingsnorth), but it is basically the same outlook,
What does this mean, exactly?
The winner of the forthcoming local elections will be the IDon’tVote Party as people express their political alienation by staying away from the ballot box. No doubt the low turnout, predictably the lowest on record, will be glossed over by the lickspittle media and their allies in our political elite.
Not so easy to ignore will be the lowest turnout ever at the next general election where party disaffection will reach its zenith. This of course will have its benefits as, no matter how technically valid the outcomes are, the low turnout will tell our elders and betters that they have no moral authority to rule over us (rule rather than govern given their perverse proclivity to tell us, constantly, how we should run our lives).
It may also, hopefully, result in a hung parliament suitably emasculated and unable to carry through its execrable policies, leaving the rest of us to get on with our lives.
In the vernacular, No one’s listening any more, mate – so go take a running jump.
I responded to your excellent comment, but apparently the word ‘r-e-s-i-s-t-a-n-c-e’ is causing a problem ….
It’s amost like GB is catching up with NI. We wrote the book on alienation. Over the years, I’ve been alienated for so long from both parties and states of all descriptions that I’d be feel trapped / diminished if I ever felt part of anything tbh.
The Lib Dems ought to do well then, they’re the classic none-of-the-above party.
The elephant in the room is Brexit. Unless and until there is a proper process for rejoining the EU, a majority of the electorate will be disenfranchised.
Why? Brexit puts more control back into Westminster, therefore MPs are now responsible and accountable for everything that’s happening in the country
Not entirely sure that’s correct. The Executive is certainly acquiring additional powers removed from EU membership. What role Parliament is being given less clear. Not a nuance though that all the public will be sighted on, but for us geeks of interest.
I don’t understand. Whether we are in or out of the EU has no bearing on the processes of our national (or local) election. My feelings of disenfranchisement (and they are feelings, because of course I can vote; it’s just that I don’t like any of the parties at the moment) are not affected in anyway by our relationship with the EU. In fact, if you are pro-EU you do have a party, the liberal-Democrates and the Greens are both still very pro and would, no doubt, rejoin if they could.
Don’t be silly, it’s just a mouse that’s still sqeaking.
Eh? Most European voters are just as alienated. Maybe you’re suggesting that if we rejoined we might be more likely to have our own Le Pen or Meloni.
Join the discussion
To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.
Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.Subscribe