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The University of Southampton
Politics and International RelationsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Will Jennings, Lawrence McKay and Gerry Stoker win the Bernard Crick Prize for best article

Published: 6 July 2022
Bernard Crick prize

PAIR is pleased to announce the winners of The Political Quarterly 'Bernard Crick Prize for Best Article’ - Will Jennings, Lawrence McKay and Gerry Stoker for their piece ‘The Politics of Levelling Up’. Congratulations!


‘Levelling up’ is an expression of a realignment in British politics with the Conservatives presenting themselves as the new party of redistribution. This is not primarily concerned with redistribution between social classes, or even between regions, but rather targets communities that feel they have lost their centrality and standing. This seemingly surprising manoeuvre is facilitated by voters’ distrust of politics, a geography of discontent that reflects uneven patterns of social and economic development, and the Conservative Party's capacity for pragmatic shifts in ideological direction. Yet, the sustainability of this project is uncertain. Levelling up creates opportunities for high-profile initiatives and symbols of change through which the government can craft a narrative of success. It may also help the Conservatives appeal to voters that lean one way on economics but another on social issues by targeting attention and interventions in specific places—in a way that speaks to some voters’ feelings of having been neglected over many decades and having lost status to other groups in society. The tensions in delivering levelling up reflect the complexity of the changes wrought by globalisation and technological change, but the challenge for progressive forces is to develop a better alternative—a far from easy task.

Read the full article online.

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