Building the ‘Boris’ bloc: angry politics in turbulent times

Clarke, John (2020). Building the ‘Boris’ bloc: angry politics in turbulent times. Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture(74) pp. 118–135.



The 2019 Conservative election victory has been attributed to different causes: Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn or Labour's loss of the working class. Instead, this article suggests the need to attend to multiple causes, working across widely differing time scales that came together to make this moment. These include the long trajectory of deindustrialisation and financialisation, the British troubles with post-colonialism, and the historical context of the complexities of class in the UK. These underpinned a series of public moods - anger, loss, frustration and popular fiscal realism - that became fertile ground for Conservative politics. Thinking about these multiple forces and their different temporalities enables us to see the election as part of a wider conjuncture (in temporal and spatial terms). Such a view might also allow us to think about the contingent political bloc assembled around 'Brexit and Boris' and to see its potential lines of fracture and failure.

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