If Johnson goes, the realignment goes
What do I mean by this? For the last 20 yrs, Britain (& other Western states) has been in an unfolding political realignment -an enduring shift in people's political loyalties which is mainly rooted in their education, age and above all their cultural values
It is helpful to think about realignments in terms of structure & agency, the underlying structural change which bring them about (education, class, age, etc.) but also the agents who mobilise them into politics (leaders, movements, etc.)
The Conservatives dominated the last decade and the Brexiteers won bc of two things. 1. Structures in British society working to their advantage, of which the marginalisation of workers, non-grads & cultural conservatives was the most important, and ...
2. Competent, charismatic & effective agents who pulled this structural change into politics. Farage was key (no Farage, no UKIP), as was Boris Johnson in 2016. Both had a major impact on pulling the realignment into politics. We showed this here
These trends were underway before Theresa May, she capitalised on them but ultimately proved unable to push them over the line. Structures remained v favourable for Cons but the agent was, well, a bit naff. The realignment continued to unfold but was not maximised
In 2019 Johnson then put it on steroids. If you look at Lab -> Con switchers, they absolutely loved Johnson (& distrusted politics). Bizarrely, he was the anti-establishment establishment candidate who pushed through realignment (though it's still not complete)
Until 6 months ago it was still in place. Very clear & coherent electorate for Cons (albeit v different than Cameron's electorate) & an agent who appeared in line with it. Hence Hartlepool in 2021 & 2021 locals. Johnson was still v appealing in areas most Cons cannot reach
If Johnson goes, which depending on your view is either possible or likely, structural conditions for the new conservatism will remain for, say, 2-3 elections but who is agent who cd have same kind of econ + cultural appeal as Johnson among workers, non-grads & true blue tories?
Sunak? It's poss. But new con voters are looking for a LOT more than traditional fiscal conservatism or Metro Liberal Conservatism 2.0. I'm not sure i've heard Sunak say anything about the cultural axis in politics -freedom, history, identity, belonging, etc etc, Have you?
Truss? Poss. But again never underestimate extent to which most voters have no idea who these ppl are or what they believe. I still meet voters in focus groups who don't know who Starmer is. Any new Con leader wd need to do three things ...
1. Start new conversation with new conservative voters which takes long time 2. Speak LOUDLY to the realignment (forget pivots back to 1980s, this is new era), 3. HOPE they have something similar to Boris circa 2019-2021 appeal otherwise Red Wall collapses & then Cons are toast
The only way forward for Cons now until mid/late 2020s is to lean INTO realignment. Chance of winning back Remainia at next election? Zero. Zilch. My own view is new Con voters wd give Johnson a second chance if he did a few things (tho not saying he think is capable of it!) ...
Go to Red Wall & tell country he is sorry (properly). Jan 26 is end of crisis day, restrictions go. Declare endemic asap. Is time to focus on getting UK back on track. Turn up volume massively on his original msg & dump irrelevant metro stuff. Be agent he promised to be.

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More from @GoodwinMJ

10 Dec 21
How Boris Johnson's electorate is starting to unravel. A short thread 1/?
Almost 2 yrs ago to the day Johnson won the largest majority for any Conservative since 1987. He did so by pushing through the realignment of British politics, reshaping the Conservative vote around Leavers. He promised 3 things. Brexit. Strong borders. A levelled up country.
His victory was emphatic. He won 76% of Leavers (& a not insignificant 26% of Remainers). And in the early months of his premiership he retained almost all of them, holding over 90% of his 2019 coalition together
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11 Oct 21
Intellectual and academic freedom in Britain and other Western nations. A thread where I will compile ongoing pieces of research & cases as they are released 1/?
Full disclosure. I have publicly stated that I think this is a serious issue, I have given evidence to (UK) parliament on it & I support the UK Higher Education & Academic Freedom Bill. I appreciate people have different views but such a thread might be useful.
Once Cambridge academics are allowed to vote anonymously & not publicly, the vast majority of them reject proposals to insist students & staff be ‘respectful’ of opposing views in favour of being "tolerant"
Read 34 tweets
27 Sep 21
"Gina Miller to launch a new anti-Brexit party". Have people learned nothing from Change UK? And does Labour really need ANOTHER party splitting it's vote? Hard to avoid the conclusion that this is more about ego than Britain.
Labour is currently losing 15-20% of its 2019 vote to an assortment of Lib Dems, Greens, Plaid, etc. Lavishing the Brahmin graduate left with yet another cosmopolitan anti-Brexit party will only weaken their cause 1/2
2/2 this will likely be magnified by the absence of Brexit Party alternative in 2023/24. If you strip away Brexit Party candidates from 2019 election Boris would probably have majority over 100. Ppl forgetting this. Realignment could still easily smash Lab & warring progressives
Read 4 tweets
8 Sep 21
This is what leaning left on the economy and leaning right on culture looks like. It is a new era in British politics.
Johnson's premiership has so far delivered Brexit, reformed migration, shifted conversation to levelling up & presided over massive expansion of state. New measures will now see tax burden rise to 35%-ish of gdp by 2023/24, highest level since 1940s.
Contrary to old left v right, much of this will sit well among cross pressured voters who lean left on econ, want bigger state, & right on culture, back Johnson/Brexit/Britain. Is especially important group for Johnson coalition & also many more in Red Wall 2.0.
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4 Aug 21
A major theme in post-Brexit Britain is @BorisJohnson 's pledge to "level-up" regions & communities that were left behind. Conservatives cannot retain power unless they deliver. @Keir_Starmer cannot return Labour to power unless he sets out credible alternative [Thread]
But it remains poorly defined & understood. What do we mean by levelling-up? How can we measure whether areas are improving or deteriorating? How can citizens, communities & councils hold gvt to account? How can policymakers identify what is working vs what is not?
We @LegatumInst have been exploring these issues for past few months & working with lots of councils, policymakers, academics & stakeholders to build the UK Prosperity Index -a tool that we think can help gvt, councils & citizens get to grips with levelling-up
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11 Jun 21
New study confirms the last 5 years on Twitter. Labour voters & Remainers considerably more likely to distance themselves from people who hold different ideological views & to voice hostility toward them. Conservatives, Leavers less likely to do so.
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