Dangers of One Dimensional Politics
One dimensional politics is always dangerous. I think we are seeing two other dimensions that might be becoming more important that the plain economic right/left dimension:
Liberal vs Authoritarian – Blair skewed us towards the authoritarian (Criminal Justice Acts etc.) and many Conservatives are disinclined to try to move things back.
Communitarian vs Individualist – Americanisation is taking us towards the Individualist and challenging the Labour vote in particular. Whilst the rich are (mainly) very happy to see policies skew towards Individualism (a.k.a. personal responsibility, self-reliance, the weak go to the wall because they are unworthy) and the Conservatives are happy to encourage this, getting the poor to support it is a much more difficult trick. Perhaps this is what UKIP are doing. By persuading the less well off that the welfare state is excessively supporting “the other” (notably migrants but also “welfare scroungers”), you can turn them against that very welfare state. And if you don’t support that welfare state – why support Labour?
UKIP and the Conservatives have a similar policy base. It is therefore quite reasonable to believe that their support will oscillate between the two – they are both Individualist parties. The same cannot be said for Labour. Once you have made the emotional jump to supporting UKIP it is not so much a case of having lent your vote to them, but of leaving Labour and not coming back,
The “squeezed middle” is not just those economically squeezed but also those who believe in the state as a force for community good. They are being attacked from one side by the rich who do not want to contribute and from the other by those who no longer believe.
The key dimension of the next election may be Individualist (like Americans – particularly Republicans and their faction the Tea Party) or Communitarian (like much of Europe).
Tories, Whigs/Orange Bookers, and UKIP vs Social Democracy, Liberal Democracy and Greens. And that does not equate to rich vs poor or the traditional class divide.