If the Great Realignment is coming, it is interesting to attempt to date its appearance on the horizon and chart its trajectory.
Ostensibly politics are aligned on a left-right axis with the left being opposed to economic freedom and the right being opposed to personal freedom. However this may not have been true since Thatcher and Kinnock were replaced by the likes of Blair and Cameron. Since then, both parties have become increasingly authoritarian, with ever less to choose between them.
It does not seem so long ago that the Labour Party elected Jeremy Corbyn as its leader, and how we all laughed that it meant the end of the Labour Party. The new axis of alignment would be revealed by the nature of their replacement.
Then the referendum happened, and Theresa May happened, and it does not seem so long ago that we were worried that if the Conservatives made a mess of Brexit, we would end up with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. Should that occur, politics might realign along a comrade-traitor axis.
Today the end of the Labour Party may be in sight again, though this time around I am less certain. For now, politics seems aligned mostly along a leave-remain axis. The two main parties ought to be the Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats. But realignment takes time and we are stuck for the moment with Conservatives and Labour sort of wanting to leave but not really.
Soon Boris will be Prime Minister and it will be November 1st. If we are still in the EU on that day, it may not be long until the two main parties are the Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats. If remain (or a remain-like version of leave) ultimately wins, some combination of the old three parties will likely remain, the Great Realignment will be cancelled, and ever ratcheting authoritarianism will return.
If somehow we leave the European Union decisively, how quickly can we move on? Will the argument be between those who want to protect industry from trade and keep out immigrants, and those who want to keep regulations and taxes in line with the EU?
Or will one of the sides be tempted by the growth to be had by freeing trade and attracting investment with easy movement of people and goods across borders, fewer regulations and lower taxes?
I would like to think that having discarded EU authoritarians, we can get to work on Westminster authoritarians, and that British political debate can centre around discussion of the role of the state, along an authoritarian-libertarian axis. A debate which, of course, the good guys will win.