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Is the Modern Conservative Party Today Truly Conservative?

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Introduction

Is the Modern Conservative Party Today Truly Conservative? The Conservative Party, as is suggested in the name, has throughout its history been associated with a Conservative ideology. However, there are two main types that the party has adopted post-WWII. These are One Nation Conservatism and Thatcherism, or the New right. From 1945 to 1979, the party was a one nation party, but when Margaret Thatcher took over, she created her own ideology, basing the party entirely around her personal views. The effect of her legacy is still seen to this day, with a split in the party between Thatcherites and One Nation Conservatives, which Prime Minister David Cameron describes himself as. However, whether the party's official policies fit under either of these banners is very much up for discussion. In regards to law and order, the Conservative Party has seen a departure from its traditional stance. While in the past policies have stated that the prison system works and that there should therefore be tougher sentences in order to deter people from crime, there is now an emphasis on rehabilitation, with a reduced number of custodial sentences. ...read more.

Middle

This is a massive departure from the traditional acceptance of inequality in society. The term 'social justice' has entered Conservatives vocabulary for the first time, meaning that there is now support for the idea that society has a responsibility to improve the lives of those who are deprived opportunities. The One Nation view is held in regards to welfare, in that it is available for those who need it. However, it is accepted that claiming welfare should be made more difficult for those unwilling to look for work themselves. Since creating a Government in 2010, Cameron has been emphasising his idea of the 'Big Society'. This idea refers mainly to the chance for communities to take control of their local services through volunteering. It also refers to less state control in many public services. This is extremely similar to the 'communitarian' policies held by New Labour under Blair and Brown. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is a change from the traditional view that the environment is not the highest priority and that over-regulation should not affect the ability for businesses to make as high a profit as possible. Finally, the traditional party stance on the UK's political system has been that reform is completely unnecessary. The argument 'if it ain't broken don't fix it' has been given, meaning that the political system has stood the test of time, so why does it need to be changed? However, the party now accepts that the people should be able to decide if they wants reform through referendums, and this has been seen in the May referendum on the Alternative Vote. From this, one can see that although the party is definitely moving towards the centre, there are still enough elements from both Thatcherism and One Nation Conservatism to call the party Conservative. However, the party does lack a traditional ideology, and it remains to be seen if they will adopt one or continue using the pragmatic approach in use today. ...read more.

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