The Rise of the Class Alignment

  • David Butler
  • Donald Stokes


Few party systems of the world have as long a past or as settled a character as Britain’s. Yet the last two generations have brought profound changes both in the basis of political alignment and in the identity of the leading parties. This historical period has seen the Liberals displaced by Labour, which became the second major party after one world war and an equal contestant for power after another.


Trade Union Party System Labour Party Downward Mobility Party Support 
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  1. 4.
    For an interesting discussion of the growth of support for working class parties under alternative models of conversation see Gösta Carlsson, “Time and Continuity in Mass Attitude Change: The Case of Voting,” Public Opinion Quartely, 29 (1965), 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 5.
    Further evidence of a longterm increase in the proportion of the population performing non-manual occupations is set out in Rose Knight, “Changes in the Structure of the Working Population,” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 130, Part II (1967), 408–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 6.
    See especially S.M. Lipset and R. Bendix, Social Mobility in Industrial Society, Berkeley, 1959.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    See R.T. McKenzie and A. Silver, Angels in Marble, London, 1968, for the most comprehensive discussion of this theme.Google Scholar
  5. See also E. A. Nordlinger, The Working Class Tories, London, 1967Google Scholar
  6. W.G. Runciman, Relative Deprivation and Social Justice, London and Berkeley, 1967.Google Scholar
  7. For an earlier discussion not without a modern ring, see W. Bagehot, The English Constitution, London, 1867.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    See A. H. Birch, Small Town Politics, Oxford, 1959, pp. 110–11.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    F. Parkin, “Working-Class Conservatives: a Theory of Political Deviance,” British Journal of Sociology, 18 (1967), 278–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 13.
    See W.L. Guttsman, The British Political Elite, London, 1963, p. 105; see also The British General Election of 1966, pp. 208–11.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Butler and Donald Stokes 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Butler
    • 1
  • Donald Stokes
    • 2
  1. 1.Nuffield CollegeOxfordUK
  2. 2.Center for Political StudiesUniversity of MichiganUSA

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