Chapter 2 considers the modernisation of the Conservative Party under Cameron
from an internal perspective, focusing in on the politics of detoxification.
It considers the extent to which change within the Conservative Party
occurred under Cameron. The term detoxification reflects the perception that
the Conservative brand was toxic, and that electoral recovery was dependent
on distancing themselves from the negatives that had disfigured them in the
post-Thatcherite era. The chapter will chart how Cameron set about (a)
restyling the image of party by the promotion of a socially liberal brand of
Conservatism; and (b) reconstructing modern Conservatism – or the extent to
which social liberalism was accepted by the PCP. The chapter will argue that
change did occur, but that there were limits to the scale of change that
Cameron could impose upon his party. The chapter will examine the main
themes associated with modernised Conservatism and will argue that their
commitment to these themes, once in government, was patchy and inconsistent.
It will, however, emphasise that progress was made in terms of international
aid and same-sex marriage.