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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > December 2017 > Welcome to THE RED SHIRES

Welcome to THE RED SHIRES

The southeast of England has long been a Tory heartland. But now a wave of new arrivals—the DFLs, people who have moved “Down from London”—are making Labour a serious player

Once upon a time, Worthing was the sort of gently ageing seaside town unkindly known as “God’s waiting room.” So when Beccy Cooper and her husband were househunting along the south coast, they didn’t initially see it as a place to raise two young sons. But two years on, the public health consultant is delighted that they took the plunge and moved in: “There’s so much going on. A lot of the families we know have come from Brighton because you can get more for your money here, and when you get that influx of people, you get changes—lots of interesting cafés, different arts and culture, independent shops and lots of entrepreneurial businesses opening up. It’s a great place to live, incredibly dynamic.”

And it’s changing in more ways than one. This summer, Cooper became Worthing’s first Labour councillor in 40 years. Her party now has serious designs on the parliamentary seat of East Worthing and Shoreham, which throughout its various iterations has been Tory since 1876. This summer, Labour’s candidate Sophie Cook doubled the vote her party had notched up just two years before. And that’s just the beginning.

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In Prospect’s December issue: Adam Posen, Diane Coyle and Nicolas Véron examine the state of Britain’s economy with Brexit looming and suggest that with a large part of the City looking to move and with productivity remaining low the outlook is firmly negative. Posen suggests that the only thing capable of disciplining the Brexit economy is the reality that things are going to be worse. Coyle suggest that although Brexit will hamper Britain’s productivity, the problem is long-term. Véron argues that more than a tenth of the City’s business will disappear due to Brexit—a significant slice that will be difficult to cover off. Elsewhere in the issue: Steve Bloomfield uncovers what is going on at Dfid, the struggling government department that recently lost its Secretary of State. Nick Cohen looks at the rise of the Strong Man is Eastern Europe as Viktor Orbán clamps down on society and Lizzie Porter reports from Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, a region plagued by war and political instability.