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This chapter begins by outlining the main arguments contained in The Future of Socialism. These consist of first an account of the transformation of the British economy, which was followed by a discussion of socialist aims and finally an analysis of the policies most appropriate for their attainment. Of fundamental importance for the revisionist position was the distinction between values and policies, or ends and means as they were labelled. The chapter then discusses the criticisms made of Crosland's arguments. Of these, the intellectual challenge from the New Right was the most serious. The chapter illustrates how revisionists in the 1980s sought to defend social democracy in the face of this intellectual challenge. It also discusses certain wider empirical developments, which some commentators have argued spell the death of social democracy. Finally, the chapter demonstrates the continuing relevance of core elements of Croslandite social democracy.
This book is an analysis of the political thought of the Conservative Party. Academic discussions of the Conservative Party have tended to neglect ideology, focusing instead on the 'pragmatic' nature of the Party and its electoral and governmental record. The book traces the ideology of the Conservative Party through its most prominent thinkers. These are Harold Macmillan; R. A. Butler; Quintin Hogg (Lord Hailsham); Enoch Powell; Angus Maude; Keith Joseph; the traditionalists; the 'wets' (most notably Ian Gilmour); John Redwood; and David Willetts. These are the individuals considered by the authors to have made the most important contributions to the political thought of the Conservative Party. Some of them did so through the publication of a major book or even in some cases a series of books. The book provokes two theoretical issues and it is the purpose of the introduction to deal with these head-on. The first relates to the nature of the Conservative Party, which many commentators argue is not an ideological entity. The most widely cited academic perspective of this sort is the 'statecraft' thesis first outlined by James Bulpitt, who argued that the Conservative Party is in fact a pragmatic movement committed above all to winning elections and maintaining power. The second issue raised here is that of why and how the authors have selected the individual thinkers and overlooked others with plausible claims to influence.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book presents an analysis of the political thought of the Conservative Party. It traces the ideology of the Conservative Party through its most prominent thinkers. A number of commentators have argued that the Conservative Party is free from ideology. This has been argued by prominent Conservatives themselves and was frequently heard in the 1980s as opponents of Thatcherism claimed that Margaret Thatcher had brought in something alien to the Conservative Party ideology. The book distinguishes between four main ideological traditions present in the Conservative Party since 1945: traditional Toryism, New Right, Centrist and One Nation. The interrelationship between conservative and liberal elements within the New Right can be seen in the work of Enoch Powell, who combined a strong sense of national identity with free-market economic policies.
According to the late Ewen Green, 'Harold Macmillan was the most self-consciously intellectual Conservative leader of the twentieth century'. This chapter argues that there were two Macmillans, the pre-war intellectual, and the post-war opportunist. From this perspective, it is possible to understand his ambiguous contribution to the development of ideas within the Conservative Party. His most important work, The Middle Way, capped a series of volumes which were written either singly or in cooperation with others. The nickname 'Supermac', originally bestowed on Macmillan by the hostile cartoonist 'Vicky', ended up being regarded as a tribute to his preternatural political powers. In practice, probably the most important legacy of Macmillan's pre-war thought was the credence it gave to the argument that the post-war Conservative leadership had made a conscious accommodation with 'socialism', which amounted to a betrayal of the party.
Ironies abounded in the political career of Richard Austen Butler. If Butler's political ambitions were not realised, at least his role in the development of post-war Conservatism is rarely disputed. The 1944 Education Act exemplified Butler's view of politics as 'the art of the possible'. Butler's strategy was informed by an awareness that, given the range of opposition to educational reform, it would be easier to thrash out an agreement on reform in the unusual conditions of wartime. Ultimately the chief importance of The Industrial Charter lies in its whole-hearted embrace of the 'Keynesian' approach to economic management. This, presumably, was what Butler meant when he claimed that the party was now 'on the fairway of modern economic and social thought'. While Cub Alport's loyalty to Butler was beyond question, other contributors to One Nation were linked to him through their previous work for the Party.
Quintin Hogg, Lord Hailsham, developed political ambitions at an early age. The Tory Reform Committee, which proceeded to issue a series of pamphlets on such topical issues as workmen's compensation, civil aviation, agriculture and land utilisation. In a contemporary account, Hogg reported that the committee 'has a proper executive to prepare its agenda, and meets every Wednesday evening in the House of Commons to discuss current affairs and to take common action on all business in the coming week'. In 1947 Hogg was asked to write a Penguin 'special', setting out The Case for Conservatism. It is probably his best-known book, and contains some memorable aphorisms. In debate on the Labour's 1968 Race Relations Bill, Hogg argued unavailingly that its terms should be extended to outlaw all irrelevant forms of discrimination, and he spoke eloquently against Enoch Powell at the 1968 party conference.
This chapter highlights the twin ideological traditions that John Enoch Powell attempted to integrate into a coherent whole. These traditions were economic liberalism and traditional toryism. The chapter outlines Powell's main political principles and how these applied to the broad range of policies he addressed as an MP inside and outside of Parliament. It evaluates these ideas and discusses various criticisms made of Powell's political viewpoint. After the defeat of the Conservative Government, Powell asserted his belief that a clear choice existed in economic policy between socialism, which would continue to limit freedom as it had done under governments of both Labour and Conservative, and capitalism. Powell was to remain steadfast in his opposition to any measures he regarded as weakening the sovereignty of Westminster over Ulster and thought the Anglo-Irish Agreement signed by Margaret Thatcher a betrayal of Ulster.
On 14 January 1966, the Spectator magazine ran an article written by Angus Maude, the Conservative front-bench spokesman on the colonies. Maude's emphasis on principle in politics represented a significant shift in his thinking. In a 1953 contribution to the Political Quarterly he had noted that social change was creating an enlarged middle class. Maude believes that the free market exhibits the same 'technocratic' trends which have begun to infect even the Conservative Party. For Maude, big government and elephantine industrial concerns are part of a technocratic conspiracy against the public. When Margaret Thatcher won the 1975 leadership election Maude's reward was a key role in the party's policy-making machine, replacing Ian Gilmour as Chairman of the Conservative Research Department (CRD). Thatcher was more receptive to the arguments of small business, and her policy of selling council houses to their tenants was one which Maude had advocated in the 1960s.
This chapter examines in detail Keith Joseph's arguments for inequality, assessing their validity and consistency. Joseph's defence of inequality was a radical departure in post-war British politics. In addition to the conflict between freedom and community on the one hand and equality on the other, a further philosophical objection raised by Joseph to egalitarianism was the lack of a moral basis for fiscal redistribution. The trickle-down theory was acceptable to Joseph only because he drew a categorical distinction between absolute and relative poverty. Much of Joseph's thesis was negative in the sense that it sought to reject the post-war consensus of welfare rights, equality and a positive conception of liberty. In the longer term there were two distinctive, and mostly valid, critiques of Joseph's anti-egalitarianism from the Labour revisionists and from One Nation Conservatives.
This chapter outlines the political thought of the traditionalists associated with the Conservative Party. It describes core ideas of the traditionalists as a strong sense of patriotism, defence of the established social order and respect for tradition and authority. The chapter examines the ideas of five thinkers: two journalists and three academics, namely, T. E. 'Peter' Utley, Shirley Robin Letwin, Maurice Cowling, Roger Scruton and Peregrine Worsthorne. Utley's statement of his Conservatism, and arguably one of his best pieces, Essays in Conservatism, also set out to critique the post-war drift of Party policy. Letwin contributed to the political thought of the Conservative Party, both as a researcher and tutor at the London School of Economics and through her involvement in the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS). The economic policies pursued by the Thatcher Government were deemed a success by Scruton, especially policies of privatisation and control of the trade unions.