Chapter 4 builds upon the discussion in chapter 3 which had focused on
economic decline under Labour and how the Conservatives attempted to exploit
this. Chapter 4 will identify how this was aligned to a wider critique of
Labour based around social decline. It will consider how the broken economic
and social policy agendas of Labour were used by the Conservatives to
justify a shift away from Big Government, and towards their new governing
strategy of the Big Society. The chapter will provide a critique of the Big
Society, and the cynicism it provoked within Conservative ranks, before
arguing that it should be seen within the context of depoliticisation.
Chapter 4 will imply that the Big Society slogan was a rhetorical device for
Cameron – i.e. it masked an ideologically motivated strategy to adjust the
balance between the state and society. Therefore, chapter 4 will argue that
the Big Society narrative should be seen within the context of (a) shifting
public expectations of what the state should be responsible for, and (b)
limiting the extent to which the state can be blamed.
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.
This chapter focuses on the value of text, language and how the Good Friday Agreement was constructed. It explores the role of text in creating momentum and interrogates its function as an instrument of persuasion.
The conclusion summarises the key elements that shaped attempts to build peace in Northern Ireland and highlights the value of a common approach to dialogue and negotiation as well as the need for a coherent strategy to support political aspiration and objectives.
The conclusion draws together the main strands of the interview findings and reiterates the key shifts that occurred from the Good Friday Agreement on. It highlights the problems involved in implementing the structures of peace and notes how a shift from ambiguity to clarity as a peace process goes on can create problems of rigidity and intransigence which make the promise of peace harder to achieve and can sour political relations as a result.
This chapter identifies how a consensual approach to negotiations was developed between the Irish and British Governments and how this approach informed understanding about what an agreement would look like.
This chapter explores how the Irish worked to shape the course of Sunningdale, what went wrong, what happened afterwards and how relations developed between Dublin and the British, moving towards the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the increased role of Irish involvement in the affairs of Northern Ireland.
This chapter is concerned with how leadership operates in a peace process and examines how decisions were used to reinforce leadership goals and objectives in order to increase the possibilities of agreement
This chapter examines how the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation informed approaches to negotiation and looks at how the tensions of North-South relations were played out through Strand Two of the negotiations.