Breaking the Overton Window

Flip Chart Fairy Tales

An FT editorial declared last year that divisions between left and right no longer explain how voters think. In September Intelligence Squared ran a debate on Britain’s Political Identity Crisisand the dissolving of left and right into new political tribes. There is much talk of realignment in British politics.

One of the most useful contributions to the debate was this chart published just before Christmas by the FT’s John Burn-Murdoch and Sebastian Payne, based on data from the British Election Survey. It plots voters on two axes according to their attitudes. The horizontal axis is the traditional left-right split, based on issues like income distribution, taxation and the behaviour of big business. The vertical axis maps social attitudes to things like the death penalty, crime, school discipline and traditional British values.

As you might expect, it shows a large number of voters following something like the traditional two-party…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at

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