This book examines the role of political likenesses in a half-century that was crucial for the political modernisation of Britain, a two-party system that began to take shape and politicians became increasingly accountable and responsive to public opinion. Political language, especially electoral rhetoric, has been accorded considerable weight by recent studies in building broad coalitions of political support in popular and electoral politics. The book studies political likenesses, the key mode of visual politics at this time, as part of a nuanced analysis of contemporary political culture and the nature of the representative system. It examines a diverse range of material including woven silk portraiture, oil paintings, numismatics and medals, banners, ceramics, statuary and memorials as well as items printed on paper or card. After an analysis of the visual culture spawned by the reform bills of 1831-1832, the book shows how Conservative and Liberal/Reformer identities were visualised through semi-official series of portrait prints. The pictorial press, photographs and portrait testimonials, statues and memorials, MPs were venerated as independent representatives and champions of particular localities, trades, interests or issues, and not party hacks. Depictions of Lord Palmerston and his rivals, including Lord John Russell and Lord Derby, in the 1850s and 1860s often underplayed in pictorial representations to emphasise physical and political vigour. The role of political portraits and cartoons in the decade after the passing of the 1867 Representation of the People Act is also discussed.
The Conservative Party and Africa from opposition to government
volunteering projects, including MPs, MEPs, Councillors, members of the House of Lords, Party staff and activists. It aims to identify how Africa has featured in a narrative of change in relation to the Conservative Party. In doing so it traces the ways Africa has been used in defining a new Conservativeidentity, projected both domestically and on an international stage, as part of an attempt to signal credibility as a governing Party in a turbulent international context.
The first section briefly outlines how scholars have sought to explain
After 1918 local politics became a pressing concern for Conservatives as although a Labour parliamentary majority appeared unlikely, achieving control of municipal councils provided it with a key means of expanding its support base through the provision of efficient public services, thereby laying the foundations for future success in national contests. During the 1920s various Conservative identities across the English regions. Opposition to government ‘waste’ proved popular amongst many party activists, particularly in southern England. However, Conservatives in cities like Leeds and Birmingham promoted a more consensual form of anti-socialist politics, focused on their local efforts towards the amelioration of social conditions and the integration of working class activists into the party. In cities where Labour plausibly promoted moderate reforms in local government Conservatives proved more reluctant to tar their opponents with Bolshevik or extreme socialist associations.
Conservatives had a uniquely strong tradition of support for the principle of the UK, particularly in Scotland. As Richard Finley has described, ‘Scottish Tories had come to believe that they were the party of the Union, and a unionist tradition that encapsulated both Scotland and Ireland had been part and parcel of Scottish Conservativeidentity throughout the twentieth century’. 1 The last thing that many wished to see was any threat to its integrity. That the Conservative Party might actually help to precipitate the end of the Union was unthinkable. Nonetheless, it was
thought that this switch of emphasis from party inclusiveness to
a batch of issues clustered around the idea of national identity, constituted a
new narrative for the Conservatives. They felt that Hague was carving out
a new position for the party, exploiting the traditional Conservativeidentity
with the nation state. Labour were being portrayed as the cosmopolitan
liberal elite, obsessed with political correctness, slavishly pro-European and
destroying the United Kingdom. The weakness of this approach was said to
be that its logical conclusion was to express support
. These have highlighted divisions between ‘wets’ and ‘dries’ on economic
policy and conflict between Europhiles and Eurosceptics. For Heppell and Hill,
Europe and economic policy are ‘the two most significant ideological policy divides’
(2005: 347). However, Heppell’s (2002) model also mapped the ‘social, sexual
and moral policy divide’, distinguishing social liberals from social conservatives to
create a three-dimensional typology (2002: 312). Such issues also came to form a
more central feature of Conservativeidentity as self-identification as the anti
Disraeli recognised); and to be a supporter of the Conservative Party does not
mean necessarily that one is conservative (as Cooper acknowledged), but the two are
Conservatism and the party
not entirely unrelated. As Burke might say, there is a middle where a Conservativeidentity can be discerned. That middling territory, always changing as Oakeshott
recognised – where liberalism and conservatism meet – has been the idea of the nation.
Perhaps the word ‘belief ’ captures this aspect of Conservative politics which was
often thought to distinguish it: an aversion to
of ‘the people’ for
Rancière; or the moment of political subjectification for Badiou.
I would suggest that elements of this can be found in the anti-globalisation
movement. Its emergence in 1999 can be seen as an event of unparalleled significance: it seemed to come from nowhere and took everyone by surprise,
including activists themselves. It represented, as I have suggested, a new
moment of political universality, one that had been buried for so long under the
hegemony of neo-liberal economics on the one hand, and an impotent and