has usually benefited the Conservatives. The pattern is illustrated in Figure 3.1 , which shows the relationship between the percentage of seats in the House of Commons won by the Conservative Party and the overall left–right policy positions adopted by the Labour Party in post-war general elections, as measured by the Manifesto Research on Political Representation (MARPOR
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.
4 The Conservative Party and a changing electorate Matthew Burbank and John Francis Introduction Party modernisation, as discussed throughout this book, is primarily a tool to help a party regain power at the next or succeeding elections. Past Conservative modernisation programmes from 1945 to 1979 have proved to be successful if measured by the Party’s relatively quick return to power. After the1997 election defeat, the Conservatives found it difficult to devise an electorally persuasive modernisation effort until David Cameron won a plurality of seats for the
This book reveals the Conservative Party's relationship with the extreme right between 1945 and 1975. It shows how the Party, realising that its well-documented pre-Second World War connections with the extreme right were now embarrassing, used its bureaucracy to implement a policy of investigating extreme-right groups and taking action to minimise their chances of success. The book focuses on the Conservative Party's investigation of right-wing groups, and shows how its perception of their nature determined the party bureaucracy's response. It draws on extensive information from the Conservative Party Archive, supported by other sources, including interviews with leading players in the events of the 1970s. The book draws a comparison between the Conservative Party machine's negative attitude towards the extreme right and its support for progressive groups. It concludes that the Conservative Party acted as a persistent block to the external extreme right in a number of ways, and that the Party bureaucracy persistently denied the extreme right party assistance, access to funds and representation within party organisations. The book reaches a climax with the formulation of a ‘plan’ threatening its own candidate if he failed to remove the extreme right from the Conservative Monday Club.
Chapter Seven The Conservative Party and the ‘winter of discontent’ At the height of the industrial unrest of the ‘winter of discontent’, Margaret Thatcher’s party political broadcast (PPB) on 17 January, which had been filmed the previous day in the party leader’s room at the House of Commons, was a turning point in Conservative political fortunes.1 As she observed in her memoirs, it was no conventional television broadcast. The Conservatives had suddenly soared to a 20-point lead over Labour in the opinion polls and this had dramatically altered the political
Commentary 1 Lord Parkinson The reform of the Conservative Party The reform of the Conservative Party Lord Parkinson When William Hague appeared on the platform at the 2001 Conservative Party conference, he was greeted by a wave of sympathy which extended far beyond the audience at Blackpool. This was more than the usual reaction to a plucky underdog: it was a well-deserved testimony to the dignity which had marked William’s conduct since the 2001 general election. Perhaps the public had begun to appreciate some of William’s qualities. The pity is that the
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.
quiet’ about their experiences ( Phillips, 2018 ). This anxiety among whistleblowers about being able to control the narrative is amplified by a wider anti-aid British political agenda. Historically, the Conservative Party has seen overseas aid spending merely as part of Britain’s foreign policy; the agency in charge of aid has been repeatedly rolled up into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office under Conservative governments, and this was floated
Introduction The Conservative Party is a political phenomenon. A ‘Tory’ party has existed for over three hundred years, surviving changes that resulted from industrialisation, adapting to the Great Reform Act of 832, and subsequently introducing its own progressive electoral reforms under Disraeli. A party of landowners, property, and privilege, the Conservative Party not only weathered the century when full democracy emerged but dominated it. It won nineteen of the twentysix general elections between 900 and 997, eleven outright, and gained over 40% of the vote
Conclusion: keeping it right The Conservative Party had a sanguine attitude towards indigenous fascism and extreme-right movements before the Second World War. However, the war made association with right-wing extremism unacceptable as it associated it with the horrors of Fascism and Nazism. A title that included labels such as ‘Fascist’, ‘Nazi’ and ‘National Socialist’ was no longer acceptable for political movements. Very few groups or individuals identified themselves with these pariah terms and ideologies. No organisation with such a title appeared in the