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Monday, December 27, 2004
Unhappy new years ahead for the Tories

After the US election, it was widely noted that the liberal and 'hedonistic' blue states actually had better indicators for such trends as divorce than the traditionalist, bible-belt red states. As I recall, the lower divorce rates appeared to owe a lot to the comparative rarity of blue state marriage in the first place, but even so, it's an irony worth bearing in mind and looking to explain.

I was struck by a strong British parallel to this in Laban Tall's post noting that the two real coal-stained bastions of traditional, old-fashioned ways - Wales and the North East of England - now have Great Britain's highest illegitimacy rates, with absolute majorities of children there born outside wedlock. But as he also notes, metropolitan, trendy London has the lowest. The latter is explained by the presence of so many Asian and non-Caribbean Africans in the capital - both communities taking a blessedly unenlightened attitude to children growing up without fathers.

But one really pertinent difference is this. The US Republican Party is managing at least for now to achieve victories despite, or because of, these trends. But in Britain, Conservatives will always be outbid by Labour and the Liberal Democrats when it comes to winning over the post-family millions who are the clients of an ever-growing welfare state. And of the fifty constituencies in England and Wales with the highest proportion of non-whites (I don't have the figures for Scotland), every single one was won by Labour at the last election. It is somehow typical of the way things are for the Tories of today that even though these trends - mass immigration and family breakdown - appear to be working in opposition to each other, most certainly both manage to work to the electoral disadvantage of the Conservative Party.

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