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An insidious snobbery has taken root in parts of progressive Britain. Working-class voters have flexed their political muscles and helped to change the direction of the country, but in doing so they have been met with disdain and even abuse from elites in politics, culture and business.

At election time, we hear a lot about ‘levelling up the Red Wall’. But what can actually be done to meet the very real concerns of the ‘left behind’ in the UK’s post-industrial towns? In these once vibrant hubs of progress, working-class voters now face the prospect of being minimised, marginalised and abandoned.

In this new updated edition of his rousing polemic, David Skelton explores the roots and reality of this new snobbery, calling for an end to the divisive culture war and the creation of a new politics of the common good, empowering workers, remaking the economy and placing communities centre stage. Above all, he argues that we now have a once-in-a-century opportunity to bring about permanent change.


“David Skelton was talking about levelling up and the potential for a Conservative breakthrough with the abandoned working class long before either was a glint in Boris Johnson’s eye. In this timely, insightful and impassioned book, he explains how a new snobbery is alienating the progressive left from the working people of Britain. If you want to know why the Red Wall is turning Tory and how the post-Brexit political realignment might become permanent, read this book. I suspect Boris Johnson will have half a dozen copies on his bedside table before too long.”

Tim Shipman

“David Skelton is, once again, excellent. For those baffled by the new snobbery – the disdain directed towards working-class people for daring to think for themselves or for wanting a better future for their families and local communities – this brilliant book is essential reading.”

Nick Timothy, former Downing Street chief of staff, Daily Telegraph columnist and author of Remaking One Nation: The Future of Conservatism

“Insightful and informative, The New Snobbery is a must-read for anyone aiming to understand the politics of the 2020s.”

Nadhim Zahawi MP

“Skelton has again nailed the political and cultural divide of our time: the prejudiced, narrow and increasingly hysterical elite versus the mass of decent, moderate people who just want to see themselves, their families and their long-ignored communities stand tall again. If the Conservatives want to hold on to not only the ‘Blue Wall’ but also No. 10, then they should listen to Skelton.”

Richard Holden MP

“Skelton gets it. Levelling up is about practical change, but it is also about how we value others, release potential and restore respect and appreciation for one another. A timely must-read which speaks to head and heart.”

Penny Mordaunt MP

“If you want to understand why Labour’s Red Wall crumbled and why the Conservatives are not only winning but changing, read this thoughtful book by one of our most prescient and empathetic social and political writers. Highly recommended.”

Jason Cowley, editor-in-chief, New Statesman

“For many years David Skelton has been a political pioneer in his attempts to develop a distinct ‘blue-collar’ conservatism. In recent times, with talk of ‘levelling up’, his party has moved decisively in his direction. In this vital book Skelton urges them to complete the journey by embracing a new pro-worker settlement: one built around dignified and fulfilling work, which renews our vocations, empowers and rewards workers and strengthens their voices and communities. He makes a compelling case, not just in terms of political calculation but in the name of justice. I don’t know if the Tories will listen to and embrace Skelton’s ideas, but if they do, my party should really start to worry.”

Jon Cruddas Labour MP and author of The Dignity of Labour

“David Skelton writes with passion and perception about the fear and loathing that progressives feel for the working class.”

Maurice Glasman, Labour life peer and director of the Common Good Foundation

"The New Snobbery is an energising book that will be read and digested by ministers and policymakers."

Iain Martin, The Times
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  • Paperback, 288 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785908262
  • 31 August 2023
  • £9.99
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  • ISBN: 9781785906572
  • 29 June 2021
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