Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons (Image: UK PARLIAMENT/AFP via Getty Imag)
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Culture wars and the "anti-woke" agenda are pitting working class communities against each other, a report warns today.
Fabian Society research claims rows over issues such as racial equality, “cancel culture” and “no platforming” are stoked by politicians and social media rather than reflecting attitude divides among the public.
Bitter arguments have erupted over the Black Lives Matter movement, the England football team “taking the knee” before matches, and transgender rights.
The centre-left think tank said there were lessons to prevent Britain from becoming as fractured as the US.
Report co-author Kirsty McNeill said: "The temptations for all political parties are clear – riling up a base and pointing it at an imagined enemy is much easier than doing the hard yards involved in meeting the Prime Minister's ambition to 'level up'.
“Equally, ignoring rivals' attempts to sow division won't help Keir Starmer assemble a broad and diverse coalition to back his vision of a fairer country.
England's Harry Kane takes a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement
(Image: Getty Images)
“The public deserves better than fabricated fights."
Boris Johnson has previously been accused of fuelling culture wars to play to a Tory base as well as generating support in Red Wall areas – former Labour strongholds seized by the Conservatives at the 2019 general election.
Labour has faced accusations it is unwilling to take stands on some issues for fear of upsetting the party's existing voters or alienating new backers needed to bolster its chances of winning a Commons majority.
The Fabians urged Mr Starmer to avoid getting sucked into “divisive battles”.
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Roger Harding, the report's second co-author, added: "Culture war pedlars often use contrived stories to pit working-class communities against one another and caricature movements for racial and LGBT equality.
“We need to have the confidence to call out what they are doing so we can build on the public demand – especially amongst working-class people up and down the country – for action on jobs, climate change and building a better future for the next generation."
Last month(JUN), elections expert Professor Sir John Curtice claimed that the Conservative Party are seeking to "tap into" a wider set of values held by those who voted to leave the EU in 2016 through an "anti-woke agenda".
Fabian Society general secretary Andrew Harrop said: "It will not be easy to end the culture wars which have become a valuable tool for cynics on the right.
"These fake controversies create division between people with shared economic needs and they distract the public from a low tax, low regulation, libertarian worldview that few in Britain support.
"Progressives of all stripes – and the Labour Party in particular – must focus their energy not on winning culture wars, but on calling them out, building bridges and ending these divisive battles."