THE ‘TRADITIONAL DEMOGRAPHICS’ CLUSTER
e.g. Ilfracombe, Immingham, Sudbury, Morecambe
Towns in this grouping have populations which are predominantly white British, over-65 and working- class (at least in the respect of being in social grades C2 or DE, which, while imperfect, are the best proxies we have). Levels of education are lower than average.
The 110 towns listed are very evenly spread across the UK, with the exception of the Home Counties. The towns in this cluster take in everything from Northern industrial regions to market towns and coastal areas. Some of the places have had notable instances of far-right activities activity, but a great many others have not.
Incorporating places as diverse as Barnoldswick in the Yorkshire Dales, Downham Market in Norfolk, Neath in South Wales and Walton-on-the-Naze on the Essex coast, the distribution of the towns shows both the strengths of the ‘traditional demographics’ cluster and the weaknesses.
While it is effective as a way of identifying relatively ‘homogenous’ types of place – where latent hostility could thrive – it does little to point us towards solutions or to help us understand deeper questions of place. It is hard, for example, to see policy solutions that would be effective in all four of the aforementioned towns.
The main consequences for resilience among towns in this cluster would probably relate to a suspicion of outsiders, low bridging capital, and a lack of experience of cultural or racial difference.
Effective messages in these types of areas will likely focus on shared identities and commonalities, rather than emphasising difference. Simultaneously, effective strategies will look for means of establishing contact with non-WB communities that do exist, which gradually introduce change and difference.