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School of Politics and International Relations

Boris Johnson's best route to re-election is to focus on cultural issues in a 'war on woke', research suggests

30 June 2020

Boris Johnson’s best route to re-election could be to focus political debate on cultural issues, in a “war on woke”, according to new research co-authored by academics at Queen Mary for UK in a Changing Europe (UKCE). Analysis of social and economic values found a deep disconnect between Tory MPs and the electorate on the economy, but a much closer alignment on issues like traditional values, law and order and tougher sentencing. Launching the Mind the Values Gap report, UKCE deputy director, Professor Tim Bale from Queen Mary University of London said: "If the economic downturn that many are forecasting can be persuasively blamed on Covid-19, and social and cultural values therefore remain at the forefront of political debate, then only one party - the Conservative Party - looks likely to benefit. No wonder some top Tories are said to be pressing the PM to launch a so-called 'war on woke'." Professor Philip Cowley, also from Queen Mary, said the survey suggested Mr Johnson's administration will face a significant challenge if the coronavirus crisis results in public demand for economic redistribution. He said: "If a sense 'there is one law for the rich and one for the poor' begins to take hold, then the gap between Conservative Party people and voters could prove deeply problematic for the Johnson government".

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Read the Queen Mary news story