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Does political discourse matter? Comparing party positions and public attitudes on immigration in England

Leruth, Benjamin, Taylor-Gooby, Peter (2019) Does political discourse matter? Comparing party positions and public attitudes on immigration in England. Politics, 39 (2). pp. 154-169. ISSN 0263-3957. E-ISSN 1467-9256. (doi:10.1177/0263395718755566) (KAR id:65585)

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The United Kingdom 2015 General Election campaign was mostly dominated by the issues of immigration, public debt and income inequality. While most political parties adopted austerity-led programmes in order to reduce the level of public deficit, their stances on immigration vary significantly despite the two main parties converging on a welfare chauvinist frame. This paper compares party positions to policy recommendations formulated by participants in a democratic forum as part of the "Welfare States Futures: Our Children's Europe" project, in order to determine whether recent party pledges on immigration are being used by citizens in a large group discussion over the future of welfare policy in the UK. The analysis shows that while participants are committed to tougher policies in order to reduce existing levels of net migration, most of the policy priorities formulated do not match those of the two mainstream parties (i.e. the Conservative Party and the Labour Party) but rather those of the UK Independence Party. It also demonstrates that participants' individual political preferences do not seem to match their own positions on immigration, and that there is little difference between left-leaning and right-leaning voters.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0263395718755566
Uncontrolled keywords: Party politics; United Kingdom; public opinion; immigration; democratic forum
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Peter Taylor-Gooby
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2018 14:29 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:52 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Taylor-Gooby, Peter:
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