As previously noted, Corbyn’s critics within the Labour Party are starting to hone in on a sore spot for their new overlords: the disproportionate poshness of the hard left.
Today a leaked demographics analysis of Labour Party members, reported by The Guardian, allows us to start quantifying that trend:
‘…the report’s summary warns: “Groups which are over-represented as Labour party members tend to be long-term homeowners from urban areas (particularly inner city area) who have high levels of disposable income.
“Those who are under-represented tend to be either young singles/families who rent properties on a short-term basis and require financial assistance or those who live in rural communities.”
According to the document, Labour has analysed 80% of its party’s membership using Mosaic, a classification system used to categorise people into different social bands.It points out that “high-status city dwellers living in central locations and pursuing careers with high rewards are highly over-represented”.
“As a group they make up 4% of the general population in contrast to 11.2% of party membership,” it says.
The report says the party has 36,646 members categorised as coming from a category it calls “city prosperity”, and 19,917 of these have joined since the general election – an increase of 119%.
In contrast, the summary also points out that families with limited resources “who have to budget to make ends meet” are under-represented in the party, making up 4% of membership, in comparison with 8.7% of the population. Even in this category, however, since the general election there has been an increase in the number of members from 5,966 to 7,101.
Labour is also attracting 10% of its overall membership from those categorised by Mosaic as being in “prestige positions” – affluent, home-owning married couples enjoying financial security. This category makes up 9% of the general population.
The party appears to have had less success trying to attract elderly voters since the election – a key target group if the party is to win in 2020, according to the report.
The data shows that the party has 11,190 members categorised as “vintage value” – people over 70 who tend to live alone in social or private housing. Around 3,000 of these members have joined since the general election – an increase of 41%.’
In short, those Corbynites who have joined the Labour Party since the leadership election are almost three times more likely to be well off, city-dwelling professionals than the population at large. This chimes with the history of the hard left and with the criticisms levelled by various Labour figures who raise concerns that those pursuing radical ideological change are not primarily concerned with the well-being of the least well-off.
The failure to attract voters outside existing urban strongholds is also bad news for Labour electorally. The General Election saw the Party pile up votes in urban seats which it already held, but stand still or go backwards elsewhere. Piling up activists in the same places will only replicate that performance.