The Best Indicator of Twentieth Century Voting Patterns in Britain

This essay will attempt to assess the relationship between social class and election outcomes in twentieth-century Britain by way of citing evidence from scholarly literature.
Seen from a historical perspective, the British, and especially the English, “have traditionally considered themselves above nationalism”. In other words, the self-identity of British citizens is influenced more by their socio-economic background than notions of being uniquely English. This is acknowledged by politicians from both ends of the political spectrum. As Roger Scruton points out, "In the United Kingdom nationalism is confined to the Celtic fringes, where it has been associated with movements for home rule in Ireland, Scotland and – to some extent – Wales. English nationalism is virtually unknown, at least under that description." (Harris, 1998)
“None of which, of course, is to suggest that the British in general, or the English in particular, have altogether lacked self-awareness. The apparent absence of introspection has often been a pose. But it began as a reflection of the reality that the British in their heyday did not need to assert their national identity because it was already so pervasive. And not just good manners but common prudence required that such power be cloaked in a degree of self-effacement.” (Harris, 1998)
Class divisions in Britain were at their peak during the first half of the twentieth century. Working-Class Britain had for long been oppressed by monarchy, aristocracy and the industrial elite. The moment of recognition for its blood, sweat and toil for the nation, and its contribution to the success of the Industrial Revolution did not arrive until 1914 when it was asked to participate in the Great War. It was then that Lloyd George “proposed ‘homes fit for heroes’ and built the first huge council estates, thereby cementing class segregation into the landscape.