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The Conservative Party

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The Conservative Party * The world's oldest political party/belief (1740s). * Has shown itself to be flexible and pragmatic, adapting to changing times. E.g. acceptance of the Great Reform Act (1832). * Regard themselves as the natural party of government. * 1900-2000: Conservatives in power for 66 years. * Broadest of all political parties: extreme left (One Nation, almost Labour) - extreme right (narrow nationalists, racists). They stick together for power. Origins 1790s: French Revolution. Edmund Burke wrote 'Reflections on the Revolution in France', the most effective denunciation of the revolution. He outlined principles that formed the bedrock of Conservatism: * Man is not rational (instinct is to be selfish and greedy- a pessimistic view). * People are imperfect and require discipline. * People crave order and security. * The way to achieve order and security is through: o Continuity o Hierarchy (know your place) o Encouraging respect for established institutions. * If change is essential it should be minimal. * Encouraging ownership of property- brings stability and responsibility. Burke's political ideas are more Tory than Conservative. In 1800 Britain had the Industrial Revolution, causing population growth and dramatic change. ...read more.


* The post-1945 prime ministers (Churchill, Eden, Macmillan and Douglas-Home) were all very O.N., all supported NHS, nationalisation and the pursuit of full employment. The rise of the New Right/ Neo Liberalism/ Thatcherism * Not all Conservatives accepted O.N. principles, e.g. Enoch Powell. Some who did not accept it were: o Conservative Imperialists- wanted the British Empire back, nationalists who were hostile to joining the EEC. o Neo Liberals- Keith Joseph, Peter Thorneycroft, rejected O.N. tradition, wanted a free market and minimal state intervention. * 1951-1964- Conservatives in power (O.N.), successful in 4 elections. * 1966-1974- Conservatives lost 3 out of 4 elections (1966, 1974 x 2). * 1957- Conservatives replaced Heath with Thatcher because: o Heath was unsuccessful. o Heath took Britain into the EU. What is Thatcherism/ Neo Liberalism? 2 key intellectual influences: * Friedrich von Hayek wrote 'The Road to Serfdom', which converted Thatcher. His argument was: o The states only duties are maintenance of internal law and order, and external protection. o Anything beyond this would result in a reduction of individual freedom. o In the USA (where he lived) the welfare state was developing. * Milton Friedman was a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and won the Nobel Prize for economics. ...read more.


but this failed due to sleaze. * Overall, Majorism is an adjunct of Thatcherism. William Hague Suffered a devastating defeat in 1997, the worst since 1832. brought down by: * Economic incompetence. * Reputation tarnished by sleaze. * Hague was in Thatcher's shadow and was paying the price for success. The dilemma is whether the party should continue to be N.L. or whether it should reject Thatcherism and develop new policies. One of the problems is that the Conservative Parliamentary Party is very small- only 166 people. Approximately 95 would regard themselves as N.L., less than 20 would be O.N. Hague was elected in 1997 as the heir to Thatcher. He defeated Ken Clarke who was very O.N. Hague knew that the party had to modernise its structure and its policies and image. It had to appeal to youth and minority groups. Hague went to the Notting Hill Carnival wearing a baseball cap. Iain Duncan Smith The 2001 election was almost a mirror image of 1997. Hague resigned. In the 3rd round of the ballot it was Clarke vs. IDS (N.L. heir to Thatcher). Portillo was eliminated in round 2. IDS is traditional in his views- Catholic, army officer, public school. IDS's shadow cabinet only has one actual O.N. Conservative- Damian Green. David Willets and Michael Howard are very N.L. ...read more.

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