The Ambiguous Ideology of Levelling Up

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Abstract

The Conservative Party's ‘levelling up agenda’ has been deployed both as a tool for public communication and as a broad motif for the government's policy programme, gaining a great deal of traction as a political message. Levelling up is a vision of a post-Brexit Britain in which there will be greater state investment, educational opportunity, regional equality, and regional independence. However, this vision invokes a wide range of disparate political ideologies without addressing the underlying tensions between them. It speaks to social democrats about tackling deprivation; it speaks to social liberals about equality of opportunity; it speaks to economic liberals about supporting the free market; and it speaks to conservatives about reuniting the nation. If levelling up develops from a political slogan into a fully-fledged policy programme, it will become increasingly difficult for the government to manage the ideological tensions inherent in the levelling-up agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-320
Number of pages9
JournalThe Political Quarterly
Volume92
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2021

Keywords

  • Levelling Up
  • Level Up
  • Conservative Party
  • Boris Johnson
  • Political ideology
  • One nation conservatism

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