The Strange Birth of Middle England

In the last years of the twentieth century, a two-word phrase began to achieve wide currency in the British media. Not quite a neologism, its origins were uncertain; while endlessly repeated, it was rarely defined. The phrase, ‘middle England’, suggested a vague geographical area in the South and Midlands and outside the major cities, but referred less to a region than a particular group of people who had joined the middle classes since the Thatcher years. It had deeper origins, though, in the historical development of the idea of ‘middleness’ in British political culture.

The British middle classes have always been as much a political idea as a sociological fact. In the years between the French Revolution of 1789 and the Great Reform Act of 1832, politicians and commentators began to evoke middle-classness to convey support for moderate reform, against the more extreme aims of radicals and the working classes.[1] As suffrage was gradually extended throughout the nineteenth century, political parties tried to develop new terminologies that spoke for the ‘middling masses’ or ‘ordinary people’. In 1882, two years before the Third Reform Act gave the vote to most working men, the anti-populist Lord Salisbury complained: ‘Nearly everything hangs for us on those middling sorts of people – middle England.’[2]

Alongside this idea of the middle classes as politically moderate, another persistent theme fed into the later myth of middle England: the belief that the middle ranks of society were beleaguered and put-upon. This notion could be traced back to William Pitt the Younger’s imposition of income tax in 1798, which many middle-class people saw as punishment for their industry and enterprise. But the idea that the middle orders were especially vulnerable, sandwiched uncomfortably between the demands of capital and organized labour, really gained momentum in the first decades of the twentieth century, as the growth of white-collar work created an expanding, but downwardly mobile, salariat. After an initial period of difficulty following the First World War, this new middle class actually did well in the interwar years, escaping the worst impact of the depression through the salary agreements hammered out by white-collar trade unions in 1919 and 1920. But bodies like the Middle Class Union, championed by the Daily Mail, still bemoaned the plight of the ‘New Poor’ – that ‘vast, silent and increasing section’ of the middle classes who were so burdened by rates and taxes that they had to make tragic economies like employing fewer servants and sending their children to cheaper schools.[3]  

With the Liberal party in decline after the First World War, and the party system now divided more clearly in relation to social class, the Conservatives under Stanley Baldwin made a play for the neo-suburbanites, by celebrating the middle classes as the moral fibre and backbone of the nation, a bulwark against the factional interests and revolutionary intent of the workers. The Tories courted the middle classes through their promotion of property ownership, with subsidies for private housebuilding and mortgage interest tax relief for homeowners.[4]

After the Second World War, this theme of an ever-expanding but always-embattled middle class adapted itself to social changes such as the upward mobility of the working classes, their settlement in new towns and suburbs, and rising homeownership. The Labour party, in particular, worried that the new towns and suburbs were breeding affluent, skilled workers who could be won over to Conservatism. So in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Labour made its first serious use of private polling and what would now be called focus groups, conducted by Mark Abrams, the Philip Gould of his era.

Labour’s soul-searching around this time has many parallels with the rise of New Labour in the early 1990s. In both eras, the party was reflecting on a long period in opposition, and worrying about its outdated working-class image in the context of rising affluence and voter apathy. The 1960 Penguin Special, Must Labour Lose?, concluded that new washing machines and fridges did not turn the working classes into Conservative voters; but increasing homeownership, a Tory policy encapsulated in Anthony Eden’s espousal of a ‘property-owning democracy’, did. Arguing that the hardest way to win votes was try to change people’s values, this study suggested that a political party ‘must follow as well as lead’.[5] Labour’s wooing of middle England had begun.

Against the gloomier predictions of this book, though, Labour went on to win four out of the next five general elections as the proportion of middle-class Tory voters actually declined.[6] It was left to pre-Thatcherite outsiders like Enoch Powell and Keith Joseph to develop a new Tory ideology combining monetarism with the traditional middle-class values of self-betterment and competition. The mid- to late-1970s also saw the publication of a number of pop sociology books – Jane Deverson and Katharine Lindsay’s Voices from the Middle Class (1975), Patrick Hutber’s The Decline and Fall of the Middle Class – and How it Can Fight Back (1976) and Jilly Cooper’s Class: A View from Middle England (1979) – which reflected middle-class discontent over high inflation, trade union power and the closing of grammar schools. During the 1975 Tory leadership election, Margaret Thatcher’s language capitalized on this general sense of beleaguerment, with her assertion of the middle-class belief in ‘the encouragement of variety and individual choice, the provision of fair incentives and rewards for skill and hard work’.[7] 

‘Middle England’ was not a term used much in the 1980s, least of all by Thatcher herself, but what we now understand by it is really a product of that decade. Thatcher’s ‘middle England’ owed something to ‘middle America’, a term coined during Richard Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign to describe a region populated by the silent majority of Americans whose ‘moderate’ opinions were not represented in East-Coast media. In his speech accepting the Republican nomination, which anticipated later appeals from politicians as different as Bill Clinton and John Major, Nixon addressed ‘the quiet voice in the tumult and the shouting … the forgotten Americans – the non-shouters’.[8] Thatcherism similarly tried to exploit what Americans called the ‘blue-collar backlash’ against inflation, high taxes and national decline, this time by targeting the British lower-middle classes. 

As Thatcher’s memoirs make clear, the other inspiration for ‘middle England’ was more parochial. In The Path to Power, she imagines the heart of middle England as the East Midlands town of Grantham, where she had an austere upbringing as a shopkeeper’s daughter. Thatcher staunchly defends the ‘provincial middle-class conservatism’ she learnt here, with its values of hard work, thrift and individualism. While acknowledging that life was difficult for the poor in the 1930s, she insists ‘it was not much easier for those who had worked hard, accumulated a nest egg, and achieved a precarious respectability’. Thatcher’s ‘middle England’ is defiantly class-conscious, and is based on defending the interests of the commercial elements of the middle and lower-middle class ‘on whom future prosperity largely depends’.[9]

Thatcherism’s innovation was to promote this strategy as anti-elitist, thus differentiating it from the conventional middle-class complaint about loss of privilege, typified by one of Hutber’s correspondents who claims that his no longer being able to afford a gardener ‘amounts to a social revolution’.[10] Thatcher’s memoirs often proudly note the discomfort of Tory wets and other establishment figures at her ‘alarming conviction that the values and virtues of middle England should be brought to bear on the problems which the establishment consensus had created’.[11]

Middle Englanders were thus usefully contrasted with unpopular figures such as trade union officials, bureaucrats and public service professionals, all now viewed as self-interested elites protecting their own jobs and benefits. It is no coincidence that this idea of middle England developed alongside another term, ‘the chattering classes’, which taps into resentments about the gentrification of urban areas by middle-class radicals. Invented in the early 1980s by the right-wing journalist, Frank Johnson, this phrase suggests a cadre of metropolitan, left-liberal intellectuals, spouting off about the country’s problems at North London soirées, detached from both the centre of political power and the uncomplicated, apolitical aspirations of middle England.[12] In Thatcher’s memoirs, the chattering classes are symbolized by ‘Bloomsbury’, which she chastises as the breeding ground for loose morals and Keynesianism, contrasting it with the family values and good husbandry she learnt in Grantham.[13]

How and when did these disparate ideas come to be encapsulated in the phrase ‘middle England’? One could trace a genealogy which picks out initial, sporadic occurrences of this term, in the manner of the OED, but what really matters is when it began to be reiterated unthinkingly, in a way that assumed collective agreement over its meaning. In this sense, ‘middle England’ was an invention of the John Major years. There were only 8 references to it in national newspapers in 1985, the first being the Guardian’s dismissal of Woman’s Own as ‘that voice of middle England’.[14] There were 68 mentions in 1990, 730 in 1995 and 1012 in 2000.[15] Major’s association with middle England was an attempt to find a less confrontational rhetoric and imagery for policies that remained broadly Thatcherite. He was later mocked for his faux-populist identification with ordinary people, most famously with his introduction of a Cones Hotline, which allowed drivers to ring up and complain about the rows of fluorescent plastic bollards that divert traffic on major roads. But this strategy had considerable initial success, and was widely perceived to have helped capture key seats for the Tories in their 1992 election victory.

Hailing from suburban Surrey via Brixton, Major projected himself as a cardigan-wearing, plain-speaking sort, evoking a nation of county grounds, warm beer and ‘invincible green suburbs’.[16] The Tory Whip, Tristan Garel-Jones, defined Major as the ‘personification of middle England’, suggesting that he was ‘the sort of person I would expect to see with his car parked by the pavement on a Sunday, washing the car, eating some Polo mints, and listening to the cricket match on the radio’.[17] Garel-Jones’s iconography of suburban life was more precise than his geography: he described middle England as ‘an all-embracing term to include Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – anywhere outside SW1’[18] (the whole of the country, in other words, apart from a small postal district incorporating Westminster and Belgravia).

If Major personified middle England, it was not a phrase he used very often. It was his Home Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, who revived the term in June 1992, evoking ‘the solid citizens of middle England’ in a speech to police officers. Clarke’s ‘gut feeling’ (the appeal to instinct being traditional in this context, given the vagueness of the geographical contours) was that middle England needed to have its confidence in the police restored. One way in which this might happen, he suggested, was in the use of ‘common sense’ over traffic offences like speeding, failing to wear a seat belt or having an outdated tax disc. The middle-class motorist was more likely to back the police if he had not recently been hounded over some trivial offence.[19] This emphasis on the harassed motorist was prescient and had more mileage than Major’s Cones Hotline. With the passing of the 1991 Road Traffic Act, which allowed courts to accept photographic evidence of traffic offences, speed cameras were about to proliferate, and with them a series of tabloid-inspired resentments about the persecution of the ‘otherwise law-abiding’ citizens of middle England. 

In a speech to the Social Market Foundation in 1994, Clarke, now Chancellor of the Exchequer, returned to the subject of middle England. At the time, Britain was coming out of a recession which, unlike the slump of the early 1980s, had affected the southern middle classes as well as the northern working classes. Clarke addressed the difficult issue of executive redundancies and home repossessions by acknowledging that the ‘delayered’ middle manager would need to rely on an efficient education and welfare system to help him get back on his feet. Offering ‘a sense of security in an uncertain and unchanging world’ had nothing to do with ‘featherbedding’ middle England, he maintained, but simply acknowledging that it ‘sometimes feels worried’.[20]

Clarke’s understanding of middle England as an overlooked, anxious majority chimed with countless newspaper articles, opinion polls and thinktank studies in the early 1990s pointing to the discontent and insecurity of the middle classes.[21] In their diverse ways, these reports were addressing real, post-Thatcherite concerns. Thatcherism defined itself as a liberation from the over-regulated public sphere; in reality, it had replaced old-fashioned state regulation with new forms of interventionism in public services, in the form of audits, internal markets, quality-incentive contracts and league tables. This created new anxieties both for public-sector workers and people who used the public sector. While some of the private-sector salariat had done well out of the Thatcher years, meanwhile, others now had to cope with the short-term, casualized work created by deregulated markets and increased shareholder power. 

The concept of ‘middle England’ reached full political maturity when increasingly slick party machines began to articulate and exploit these concerns. The key event was Bill Clinton’s 1992 election victory, which Labour pollsters eyed enviously. The Democrats’ strategy was to win over what the Clinton strategist Stanley Greenberg termed ‘the working middle class’.[22] A few days after Clinton’s victory, Labour’s chief pollster, Philip Gould, wrote a Guardian article congratulating the Democrats for pinpointing the feelings of neglect and resentment among this type of voter, and concluding that Labour must find a way of appealing to ‘our Basildon equivalent of the “working middle class”’.[23] 

Like the Democrats, New Labour targeted this group through private polling and focus groups which concentrated on crucial swing voters, particularly those in the marginal Southeast seats surveyed by Giles Radice in a 1992 Fabian pamphlet, Southern Discomfort. According to an ITN political analyst whom Radice quoted, these people ‘are “middle Britain” and any party which gives them up for lost really ought to think seriously whether they want to be in the game at all’.[24] In fact, though, Labour’s increase in the voteshare in 1997 was spread across almost every region and class. Anthony Heath, Roger Jowell and John Curtice have shown that the success of the Tories in the 1980s and New Labour in the 1990s had more to do with class dealignment (the establishment of a broad base of support across classes) than class realignment (the winning over of a new type of voter).[25]    

But the idea that key ‘median’ voters decide elections is a tenacious one. Gould’s 1998 book, The Unfinished Revolution, gives a powerfully emotional charge to New Labour’s attempt to capture the heart of ‘middle England’, by linking his own life story with the party’s long march to power. He claims to have learnt his politics during a 1950s and 1960s childhood spent in ‘the land that labour forgot … an unexceptional suburban town [Woking] where most people were neither privileged nor deprived’. Labour was ‘to betray the people who lived here: ordinary people with suburban dreams … to get gradually better cars, washing machines and televisions’. It failed to notice that the working class had become a new middle class, and had ‘outgrown crude collectivism and left it behind in the supermarket car park’. This description of Woking as ‘twilight suburbia’ connects with the key idea of middle England as unfashionable and ignored.[26] But Gould always prefers the more direct ‘middle class’ to ‘middle England’, stating bluntly that ‘winning the [twenty-first] century means winning middle-class support’.[27] 

The Unfinished Revolution is the uplifting tale of how the Labour party, under Tony Blair, finally learns to connect with ‘a rich vein of empirical common sense that has always been central to the British people’.[28] (‘Empirical common sense’ is an intriguing phrase, suggesting something both psephologically measurable and elusively intuitive.) Gould ends his book at Labour’s South Bank victory party in May 1997, full of pride that people from ‘the quiet suburban street that I had come from … and millions like them, had dared to vote Labour, and were forgotten no more’.[29] This echoes Clinton’s speech accepting the Democratic nomination in July 1992, which Gould quotes earlier in his book, a homage to the ‘hard-working Americans who make up our forgotten middle class’, and who would now be ‘forgotten no more’.[30] The puzzling thing about Gould re-using it in this context is that Woking remains a solid Conservative seat, with Labour in third place in 1997 and 2001.

In an afterword, Gould describes returning to Woking a few days after Blair’s victory, in homage to his dead parents, and seeing the conservatories, satellite dishes, top-of-the-range cars and shops full of high-tech consumer goods: ‘The suburbs had changed, but this time Labour had changed with them.’[31] Gould conflates too much here into his all-encompassing definition of the ‘working middle class’. Woking is a more mixed area than he acknowledges, incorporating cheap terraces (Old Woking), 1950s estates of council and ex-council housing (Maybury and Sheerwater), mid-priced, new houses (Goldsworth Park) and swankier areas (Horsell and Woodham) which are increasingly attracting young professionals because of the fast link to Waterloo. 

For Gould, politics is less about struggle and conflict than about making a connection with a homogeneous middle class. His explanation for Labour’s successive election defeats between 1979 and 1992 is always the same: ‘ordinary, decent voters’ saw the party’s policies as unreasonable.[32] Gould borrows the idea of ‘intimation’ from his old LSE tutor, Michael Oakeshott, to describe the way that public opinion can reveal ‘subtle intimations heralding the first emergence of deeper political shifts’.[33] He looks for these shifts in focus groups conducted in ‘unassuming front rooms’ in places like Watford, Edgware and Milton Keynes.[34] Gould’s belief that he can straightforwardly measure or intuit the mood of the middle classes fails to recognize the discursive nature of politics, the way that it helps to create social identities and stereotypes as well as simply cater for pre-existing interest groups.

This complex relationship between public-opinion gathering, media stereotyping and policy-making is aptly illustrated by that archetypal middle England resident, ‘Mondeo man’. This phrase originates in a speech made by Tony Blair at the Labour party conference in 1996, when he told the story of the moment that he knew Labour had lost the last election. Canvassing on a suburban estate in Telford, Blair claims to have ‘met a man polishing his Ford Sierra’, a self-employed electrician who had always voted Labour but switched to the Tories after buying a house and setting up his own business. ‘His instincts were to get on in life’, Blair concluded, ‘and he thought our instincts were to stop him.’[35]   

This anecdote inspired an ideotype, ‘Sierra man’, which developed into a concept of extraordinary resonance and adaptability. The Sierra was a medium-sized family saloon, popular with the burgeoning middle classes of the Thatcher years. Since it had stopped being manufactured in 1992, though, the media quickly updated the term with another one inspired by the car that Ford built to replace it. ‘Mondeo man’ has been caricatured as an aspirational but insecure figure. He feels he has worked hard for his mid-range car, semi-detached suburban home and foreign holidays, and wants to hold on to them by opposing excessive tax burdens and other forms of government interference into his life. 

‘Mondeo man’ was followed by a succession of terms for key voters, identifying them according to their cars, houses or towns in the Southeast or West Midlands: ‘Galaxy man’, ‘Granada woman’, ‘Worcester woman’, ‘Woking man’, ‘Pebbledash people’. These terms were often invented by party strategists and then became a kind of journalistic shorthand, used to stereotype diverse groups of voters. They show how difficult it is to separate the sociological realities of middle England from their representation in media and political discourse. The increasingly close, but fractious, relationship between party machines and the media has complicated this relationship still further. 

In a country where newspaper reading is still common and television news is relatively non-partisan, the British tabloids have been particularly successful in promoting an idea of ‘middle England’. The Sun caught the mood of the Thatcher years by claiming to speak for ordinary, homeowning taxpayers against the incompetence of politicians and bureaucrats. Since then, the Daily Mail has been in the ascendant, almost returning to the pre-eminence it achieved as the voice of the provincial middle classes in the interwar period. While tabloid readership as a whole is in slow decline, the Mail’s circulation has steadily risen. It sees itself as the voice of middle England, and is more explicit than most in identifying this region with the suburban, southern, white middle class. In the Mail’s language, middle England is always being ‘ripped off’, ‘mocked’, ‘ignored’, ‘oppressed’, ‘ground into the dust’, threatened by ‘tax bombshells’, ‘creeping burdens’, ‘asylum turmoil’ and ‘tinpot Trotskyists’. 

The Mail’s perennial topic is the victimized middle classes, who it celebrates as the country’s most economically dynamic, revenue-generating, law-abiding citizens. What is puzzling about the Mail’s myth of middle England is its historical context. The theme of middle-class beleaguerment has tended to surface at particular crisis points – the early 1920s, late 1940s, mid-1970s and early 1990s – when there was genuine hardship among at least a certain section of the middle classes. But the Mail’s persecution complex on behalf of middle England has developed during a long period of low inflation, low interest rates and rising house prices. Middle-class prosperity in the sustained economic boom of the 1990s and 2000s only seems to have made the Mail more clamant. As homeowners benefited from the buoyant property market in southern England, for instance, it conducted a campaign against the inheritance tax for which they were now liable as a result of rising equity.[36] 

The Mail often defines middle England by its opposites, such as ‘Islington Person’, ‘the chattering classes’ or ‘Cool Britannia’. So as to avoid making specific reference to income levels or status, which might reveal that the middle classes are far from homogeneous, the Mail prefers to contrast modish lifestyle with blameless routine. ‘For every Islington person trying not to spill aubergine sauce on his Armani suit’, wrote Geoffrey Wheatcroft in this newspaper in 1994, ‘there are thousands of middle Englanders heaving trolleys round the supermarkets in search of untrendy foodstuffs.’[37] But the Mail’s self-image as the still small voice speaking up for the ignored masses of middle England sits uneasily with New Labour’s attempts to appease it. At a Guardian-hosted meeting at the 1998 Labour party conference entitled ‘Is Middle England getting too much?’, Peter Mandelson and David Blunkett heaped praise on middle Englanders and the Mail.[38] In the same year, Tony Blair attended the funeral of David English, the former Mail editor, describing him as a friend and ‘truly outstanding journalist’.[39] The Mail’s fears for middle England sit uneasily with its own circulation and influence. 

The historian David Cannadine argues that the modern notion of middle England gives ‘a contemporary, sub-Baldwinian, sub-Orwellian spin’ to the old attempt to defend middle-class interests.[40] He is right to point to these historical continuities, but it is probably truer to say that the term ‘middle England’ is a way of shifting the discussion of class rather than silently evoking class without explicitly discussing it. The Mail has never been diffident about identifying middle England with the middle classes, and when Tony Blair refers to ‘middle Britain’ he often relates it to class, while carefully erasing its more conflictual aspects. (The PC variant ‘Middle Britain’, which suggests the key Southern and Midland regions without alienating the Celtic fringes, is largely an invention of the Blair era: there were 13 references to it in national newspapers in 1994, the year he became leader of the Labour party, and 316 in 2003.)

Blair describes ‘middle Britain’ in Clintonian tones: the decent, working people who ‘play by the rules’ and should receive their just rewards; ‘the moderate, middle-income majority’; ‘the many and not the few’.[41] Unlike Thatcher’s middle Englanders, Blair’s middle Britons want high-quality public services as well as low taxation, although it is not always clear how the two can be reconciled. His middle Britain is both inclusive, the home of a growing middle class, and ‘meritocratic’, a term that necessarily implies competition and hierarchy. It combines what Andrew Adonis and Stephen Pollard call the ‘middle-classless’ mentality of the post-Thatcher era with a new kind of class-consciousness based on the perceived need to exploit every educational and career opportunity.[42] 

The differences between the Mail’s version of ‘middle England’ and Blair’s ‘middle Britain’ suggest that these phrases are not so much a euphemism to replace ‘middle class’ as a way of drawing a veil over the competition for status and privilege among the middle classes themselves. While Blair celebrates the expansion of the middle classes, right-wing commentators often lament the rise of classlessness, as in Digby Anderson’s bizarre jeremiad, All Oiks Now: The Unnoticed Surrender of Middle England, which lambasts middle Englanders for mimicking the lifestyle of ‘the lower orders’ by speaking in estuary English, refusing to make shopping lists and failing to control their children in supermarkets.[43]

The myth of middle England, as heroically ordinary, hardworking and assailed from all sides, stops us thinking too hard about these questions. It defuses difficult issues about class, money and power through vague allusions to lifestyle: home makeovers, Delia Smith recipes, Tesco, Radio 4, Marks and Spencer and school runs. It combines longstanding motifs about the British middle classes with the unique brand of populism initiated by Thatcherism, which aimed to short-circuit traditional political processes and speak directly to a nominally homogeneous, but actually carefully targeted, ‘people’. In short, middle England is a rhetorical strategy; as a region or tribe, it does not exist. 

Notes

[1] S. Gunn and R. Bell, Middle Classes: Their Rise and Sprawl, London, Phoenix, 2003, pp. 12, 18; D. Wahrman, Imagining the Middle Class: The Political Representation of Class in Britain, c. 1780-1840, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 2.

[2] J. Freedland, ‘In search of Middle England’, Guardian, 18 June 1998.

[3] T. Jeffery and K. McClelland, ‘A world fit to live in: the Daily Mail and the middle classes 1918-39’, in J. Curran, A. Smith and P. Wingate, eds, Impacts and Influences: Essays on Media Power in the Twentieth Century, London, Methuen, 1987, pp. 40-42; see also R. McKibbin, Classes and Cultures: England 1918-1951, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 53-59.

[4] Gunn and Bell, Middle Classes, pp. 80, 85.

[5] M. Abrams, R. Rose and R. Hinden, Must Labour Lose?, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1960, p. 71.

[6] D. Cannadine, Class in Britain, London, Penguin, 2000, p. 153.

[7] Article in the Daily Telegraph, 30 January 1975, quoted in M. Thatcher, The Path to Power, London, HarperCollins, 1995, pp. 274-5.

[8] N. Rees, A Word in Your Shell-Like: 6,000 Curious and Everyday Phrases Explained, London, Collins, 2004, p. 606.

[9] Thatcher, The Path to Power, pp. 42, 6, 243.

[10] P. Hutber, The Decline and Fall of the Middle Class – and How It Can Fight Back, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1977, p. 37.

[11] M. Thatcher, The Downing Street Years, London, HarperCollins, 1993, pp. 129-30.

[12] Alan Watkins, ‘The Chattering Classes’, Guardian, 25 November 1989.

[13] Thatcher, The Path to Power, p. 565.

[14] A. Shearer, ‘The Scarlett woman’, Guardian, 11 February 1985.

[15] Information obtained from the Lexis-Nexis Professional database at http://web.lexis-nexis.com/professional.

[16] ‘Smallweed’, Guardian, 24 April 1993.

[17] P. Junor, John Major: From Brixton to Downing Street, London, Penguin, 1996, p. 112.

[18] T. Garel-Jones, ‘Goodbye Watford, goodbye politics’, Independent, 26 June 1996.

[19] T. Kirby, ‘Clarke tells police to raise their standards’, Independent, 11 June 1992.

[20] D. MacIntyre, ‘Clarke appeals to “Middle England”’, Independent, 13 July 1994.

[21] See, for example, ‘Anger in middle England’, Sunday Times, 26 June 1994; John Gray, The Undoing of Conservatism, London, Social Market Foundation, 1994.

[22] S.B. Greenberg, Middle-Class Dreams: The Politics and Power of the Middle-Class Majority, New York, Times Books, 1995.

[23] P. Gould, ‘The Politics of Victory’, Guardian, 6 November 1992.

[24] G. Radice and S. Pollard, Any Southern Comfort?, London, Fabian Society, 1994, p. 4; see also G. Radice, Southern Discomfort, London, Fabian Society, 1992.

[25] A.F. Heath, R.M. Jowell and J.K. Curtice, The Rise of New Labour: Party Policies and Voter Choices, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 123, 166.

[26] P. Gould, The Unfinished Revolution: How the Modernisers Saved the Labour Party, London, Abacus, 1999, pp. 3-4.

[27] Ibid., p. 396.

[28] Ibid., p. 272.

[29] Ibid., p. 390.

[30] Ibid., 174.

[31] Ibid., p. 392.

[32] Ibid., p. 50.

[33] Ibid., p. 15.

[34] Ibid., p. 327.

[35] ‘We are back as the people’s party, says Blair’, Times, 2 October 1996.

[36] See S. Heffer, ‘The great inheritance tax scandal’, Daily Mail, 18 August 2004.

[37] G. Wheatcroft, ‘Facing up to the battle for Britain’s soul’, Daily Mail, 18 July 1994.

[38] D. Aitkenhead, ‘Come with me to Middle England’, Guardian, 2 October 1998.

[39] Freedland, ‘In search of Middle England’.

[40] Cannadine, Class in Britain, p. 183.

[41] N. Wood and J. Sherman, ‘Labour has won support of middle England’, Times, 24 February 1995.

[42] A. Adonis and S. Pollard, A Class Act: The Myth of Britain’s Classless Society, London, Hamish Hamilton, 1997, p. 10.

[43] D. Anderson, All Oiks Now: The Unnoticed Surrender of Middle England, London, Social Affairs Unit, 2004.

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