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This book provides a new and distinctive interpretation on the political strategy of David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. Rather than offering a chronological overview of his leadership, or a policy-based approach, the book assesses Cameronism via two themes – modernisation and manipulation. In terms of the modernisation the book will examine the following. First, how Cameron attempted to detoxify the negative image of the Conservatives. Second, how Cameron sought to delegitimise Labour as a party of government by deflecting the blame on austerity onto the legacy of Labour in office. Third, how Cameron used the Big Society narrative as a means of reducing the perceived responsibilities of the state. In terms of manipulation the book will evaluate Cameronism in relation to coalition government, and the exploitation of the Liberal Democrats will be examined, notably in relation to austerity, tuition fees and electoral reform. Cameronism will also be examined in relation the challenges to the existing political order by considering the demands for Scottish independence, and the rise of UKIP and the case for a referendum on continued European Union membership. Through this dual emphasis on modernisation and manipulation the book will provide an exploration of the key events and issues that defined the premiership of David Cameron, and a clear overview of his successes and failures as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. The book will be essential reading to those interested in British party politics and prime ministerial leadership.
Why did it take the Conservative Party so long to recover power? After a landslide defeat in 1997, why was it so slow to adapt, reposition itself and rebuild its support? How did the party leadership seek to reconstruct conservatism and modernise its electoral appeal?
This highly readable book addresses these questions through a contextualised assessment of Conservative Party politics between 1997 and 2010. By tracing the debates over strategy amongst the party elite, and scrutinising the actions of the leadership, it situates David Cameron and his ‘modernising’ approach in relation to that of his three immediate predecessors: Michael Howard, Iain Duncan Smith and William Hague. This holistic view, encompassing this period of opposition in its entirety, aids the identification of strategic trends and conflicts and a comprehension of the evolving Conservative response to New Labour’s statecraft.
Secondly, the book considers in depth four particular dilemmas for contemporary Conservatism: European integration; national identity and the ‘English Question’; social liberalism versus social authoritarianism; and the problems posed by a neo-liberal political economy. The book argues that the ideological legacy of Thatcherism played a central role in framing and shaping these intraparty debates, and that an appreciation of this is vital for explaining the nature and limits of the Conservatives’ renewal under Cameron.
Students of British politics, party politics and ideologies will find this volume essential reading, and it will also be of great interest to anyone concerned with furthering their understanding of contemporary British political history.
This book focuses on the idea of the nation in Conservative Party politics. It represents an attempt to make sense of the way in which flows of sympathy from the past help to shape the changing patterns of Conservatism in the present; it does so by examining one of the party's preoccupations: its claim to be the 'national party'. The first three chapters are concerned mainly with flows of sympathy within Conservatism, the currents of which can still be traced today. The character (or political culture) of the Conservative Party is explored and the significance of the nation in its self-understanding is discussed. The book considers the interconnection of party and patriotism by revisiting one of the key texts for a previous generation, Andrew Gamble's The Conservative Nation. Andrew Gamble believed that Conservative leaders have always been uneasily aware of the fragility of the political raft upon they sail on democratic waters. The book assesses the changing influence on party competition of class and nation, especially how this influences the Conservative Party's electoral identity. It also reflects the impact on the Conservative nation of the British, English and European Questions. A postscript considers the impact of the 2017 general election and makes some final reflections on the party.
The relationship between the Conservative Party and the organised working class is fundamental to the making of modern British politics. Although always a minority, the organised working class was perceived by Conservatives as a challenge, a threat and an opportunity. The book’s fundamental question is ‘why throughout its history was the Conservative Party so accommodating towards the organised working class?’ And why in the space of a relatively few years did it abandon this heritage? For much of the party’s history its leaders calculated they had more to gain from the unions’ political inclusion, but during the 1980s Conservative governments marginalised the organised working class to a degree that previously would have been thought politically disastrous for the party. This shift altered British politics profoundly.
The book explores the process of rebuilding the Conservative Party under David Cameron’s leadership since 2005. It argues that Cameron’s strategy was wide-ranging and multi-faceted and that it evolved through several stages from a coherent programme of explicit modernisation into a more diffuse set of reforms. This development was partly a result of changed thinking within the Party and partly because of the pressure of external events, especially the 2008 global financial crisis and the demands of coalition government between 2010 and 2015. It traces the different elements of the renewal strategy – leadership initiatives, ideological reconstruction, policy reappraisal and enhanced electoral appeal – and it identifies the constraints on implementing Party renewal that occurred as a result of opposition from within the Party, including the parliamentary Party and the grass roots membership. It also explores the extent to which long-standing intra-party fissures, especially over Europe , exacerbated difficulties for the leadership. The book shows that the process of renewal has been through a number of stages and that its progress has been indirect rather than linear. It suggests that, although the renewal project has been relatively successful in some respects including the return of the Conservatives to government, the extent to which it has created a new Conservative Party remains contested and the Party continues to display a dangerous disunity.
This book is the first detailed examination of the Conservative Party beyond the centre after devolution. The Scottish and Welsh Conservative Parties both started out in 1999 with no MPs and a difficult inheritance. They had also both stridently campaigned against devolution. However, since then, the smaller and less autonomous Welsh Conservative Party appears to have staged a recovery, whilst its Scottish counterpart has continued to struggle. This book traces the processes of party change in both parties and explains why the Welsh Conservatives unexpectedly embraced devolution while the Scottish Conservatives took much longer to accept that Westminster was no longer the priority. In considering the drivers of party change at the sub-state level, this book finds that electoral defeat and organisational autonomy mattered less here than we might expect. Although the Welsh Conservatives had less power and money, they also entered the Welsh Assembly with less baggage than the Scottish Conservatives. Renewing unionism was more difficult in Scotland because the Scottish Conservatives could see no route to holding power.
The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) are now the third largest party grouping in the European Parliament and the only one which openly promotes ideas and values associated with conservatism. Despite this, ECR has been largely ignored by political scientists, journalists and other policymakers in Brussels – dismissed as merely a short-term Eurosceptic faction dreamt up by British Conservatives. This book can be considered the first major study of conservatives in the European Parliament, focusing on their Euro-realist political ideology, activities and achievements. It covers the origins and developments of the group: David Cameron set it up as a gesture to the Eurosceptic wing of his party, but this decision would go on leave him increasingly isolated as United Kingdom Prime Minister in the European Union as he was no longer part of the important European People’s Party (EPP) network. Other chapters focus on the role of ECR member parties, including Law and Justice (PiS) from Poland, the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) and the Danish People’s Party (DF), and concludes by analysing the policy activities and achievements of ECR Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). While it is conceded in the book that ECR’s claim to be an ‘honest friend’ to the EU is perhaps disingenuous, its aim of promoting Atlanticist values linked to free-market economics and NATO constitutes a unique selling point in Strasbourg, and deserves to be more widely acknowledged.
English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere is the first sustained research that examines the inter-relationships between English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere. Much initial analysis of Brexit concentrated on the revolt of those ‘left behind’ by globalisation. English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere analyses the elite project behind Brexit. This project was framed within the political traditions of an expansive English nationalism. Far from being parochial ‘Little Englanders’, elite Brexiteers sought to lessen the rupture of leaving the European Union by suggesting a return to trade and security alliances with ‘true friends’ and ‘traditional allies’ in the Anglosphere. Brexit was thus reassuringly presented as a giant leap into the known. Legitimising this far-reaching change in British and European politics required the re-articulation of a globally oriented Englishness. This politicised Englishness was underpinned by arguments about the United Kingdom’s imperial past and its global future advanced as a critique of its European present. When framing the UK’s EU membership as a European interregnum followed by a global restoration, Brexiteers both invoked and occluded England by asserting the wider categories of belonging that inform contemporary English nationalism.
How do leading Conservative figures strive to communicate with and influence the electorate? Why have some proven more effective than others in advancing their personal positions and ideological agendas? How do they seek to connect with their audience in different settings, such as the party conference, House of Commons, and through the media?
This book draws analytical inspiration from the Aristotelian modes of persuasion to shine new and insightful light upon the articulation of British conservatism, examining the oratory and rhetoric of twelve key figures from Conservative Party politics. The individual orators featured are Stanley Baldwin, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, Iain Macleod, Enoch Powell, Keith Joseph, Margaret Thatcher, Michael Heseltine, John Major, William Hague, Boris Johnson, and David Cameron. Each chapter is written by an expert in the field and explores how its subject attempted to use oratory to advance their agenda within the party and beyond.
This is the first book to analyse Conservative Party politics in this way, and along with its companion volume, Labour Orators from Bevan to Miliband, marks an important new departure in the analysis of British politics. It will be of particular interest to students of Conservative Party politics, conservatism more broadly, British political history, ideologies and party politics, and communication studies.
The Right and the Recession considers the ways in which conservative activists, groupings, parties and interests in the US and Britain responded to the financial crisis and the “Great Recession” that followed in its wake. The book looks at the tensions and stresses between different ideas, interests and institutions and the ways in which they shaped the character of political outcomes. In Britain, these processes opened the way for leading Conservatives to redefine their commitment to fiscal retrenchment and austerity. Whereas public expenditure reductions had been portrayed as a necessary response to earlier “overspending” they were increasingly represented as a way of securing a permanently “leaner” state. The book assesses the character of this shift in thinking as well as the viability of these efforts to shrink the state and the parallel attempts in the US to cut federal government spending through mechanisms such as the budget sequester.