Gillian Peele
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A limited Conservative renewal?
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The conclusion evaluates the success of Cameron’s strategy of Conservative Party renewal. It argues that although the ambitious vision of Conservative modernisation was attenuated with time and the pressure of external events, some significant progress was made towards the broader goal of Party renewal. Even if the Conservative Party did not reconstruct radically its philosophy and policies , it did take steps towards a more socially liberal synthesis and did successfully diversify its candidates to present an image relevant to the twenty first century .It also re-established some of credibility as a Party with governmental competence and in 2010 and 2015 improved its electoral outreach. How long-lasting these achievements will prove is unclear. Labour’s move left under Corbyn and the weakened state of the Liberal Democrats offer Cameron space in the short-term at least to build further electoral advantage. But the EU referendum poses a renewed threat to party unity. Cameron’s period as Party leader saw some major accomplishments for a Party that had long been in the wilderness. Whether those accomplishments can be sustained will depend on how well the Conservative leadership handles divisive issues, especially the outcome of the referendum but also migration and Scotland, and on how far the Party can project a persuasive appeal into the next electoral cycle.

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David Cameron and Conservative renewal

The limits of modernisation?


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