Edward Ashbee
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Britain, retrenchment and the ‘Big Society’
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The chapter considers events and processes in Britain during the recession years. It looks at the Conservative Party (as well as the exigencies of coalition politics) and the fortunes of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), the different core constituencies to which the right was tied, economic logics and the character of the institutional structures within which British policymaking was undertaken. In particular, the chapter surveys two ideational shifts. First, the Conservative leadership committed itself to radical and sustained fiscal retrenchment. This was however rationalized on largely pragmatic grounds. Then, second, it reframed retrenchment so that it became an explicit commitment to shrink and restructure the British state thereby reconfiguring its relationship with both the economy and civil society.

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