Book Chapter British Social Attitudes: the 27th report: exploring Labour's legacy Ch. 9
Post-war British public opinion: is there a political centre?
The chapter shows that British post-war public opinion is pretty much one-dimensional, and largely corresponds to what most people think of as ‘left-right’ issues. Some issues are seen as existing outside the traditional ‘left-right’ framework - for example, attitudes to the monarchy or about Europe. However, many of these are being incorporated into the left-right framework.
The political centre has moved over time. Between 1950 and 1979, it shifted to the right. Between 1979 and 1997 it moved to the left. Since 1997, the political centre has moved sharply to the right. The public now appear less supportive of ‘big government’ than at any time since the late 1970s.