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The key contributors to the political thought of the modern Conservative Party

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.

Geoffrey Hicks

2 Conservative perspectives Tho’ nobody talks of foreign affairs, I hear, among the initiated, that there are odd whispers, & the general state of things is anything but satisfactory. (Disraeli to Lady Londonderry, 30 December 1849) On the formation of the fourteenth Earl of Derby’s first Government, in February 1852, Lord Aberdeen – the previous Conservative Foreign Secretary – observed that British politicians had been ‘so much occupied of late, with domestic affairs, that European questions have received little attention’.1 Given the European upheavals of

in Peace, war and party politics
Abstract only
Geoff Horn

10 Conservative member Prentice’s defection provided him with a welcome liberation from the uncertain and tortuous political existence he had endured over the previous few years. Simon Hoggart, the Guardian’s parliamentary sketch-writer and resident humorist, compared his final act to that of a Houdini-style escapologist: having tied himself up in ever more intricate knots, ‘the Great Reginaldo’ had finally freed himself to the sound of a drum-roll.1 It appeared that Prentice’s long-running political saga was coming to an end. The twists and turns of his various

in Crossing the floor
Devolution and party change in Scotland and Wales

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 Tories after 1997
Editors: and

The Conservative Party's survival as a significant political force was now open to serious question for the first time since the crisis over the Corn Laws. The Labour Party has commanded a fairly consistent level of attention, whether in office or in opposition. But it seems that the Conservatives are fated to be regarded either as unavoidable or irrelevant. This book presents an analysis that suggests that the party leader plays a less important role in Conservative recoveries than a distinctive policy programme and an effective party organization. It examines the Conservative position on a series of key issues, highlighting the difficult dilemmas which confronted the party after 1997, notably on economic policy. New Labour's acceptance of much of the main thrust of Thatcherite economic policy threw the Conservatives off balance. The pragmatism of this new position and the 'In Europe, not run by Europe' platform masked a significant move towards Euro-skepticism. The book also traces how the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Parties adapted to the creation of the Scottish Parliament, exploring the re-organisation of the Scottish party, its electoral fortunes and political prospects in the new Scottish politics. It examines issues of identity and nationhood in Conservative politics in the 1997-2001 period, focusing on the 'English Question' and the politics of 'race'. The predictable results of the Conservatives' failure to develop an attractive, consistent narrative are then analysed. Right-wing populist parties with charismatic leaders enjoyed some electoral success under the proportional representation systems in 2002.

Thomas Prosser

Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. (Milton Friedman) 1 Venal Old Tory Etonians Conniving Odious Neo nazi Self serving Egotistical Reckless Vermin And Twatty Idiotic Vile Evil Scum. (Kazzia, @KazzJenkins) Conservatives are bastards. This kind of verdict, often

in What’s in it for me?
Peter Dorey

7 Peter Dorey Conservative policy under Hague Conservative policy under Hague Peter Dorey The Tories have published any number of pre-manifesto documents, only to rip them up and start all over again in the manner of a panic-stricken student sitting an exam that he knows he will fail.1 The Conservative Party encountered considerable difficulty in crafting a coherent package of policies once in opposition after the 1997 election defeat. Much of this difficulty derived from the ideological uncertainty which afflicted the Conservative Party during this period

in The Conservatives in Crisis
Statewide context
Alan Convery

2 The UK Conservative Party: statewide context This chapter explores the relationship between the statewide Conservative Party and Scotland and Wales. The post-1997 Conservative Party famously took a long time to realise the extent it would have to change in order to regain office (Norris and Lovenduski, 2004; Bale, 2010; Snowdon, 2010). Before going on to examine the territorial Conservative Party in detail, we will consider the wider UK context for the changes that occurred at the sub-state level. The Scottish and Welsh Conservative parties may have been

in The territorial Conservative Party
A view from the archives
Jeremy McIlwaine

12 Conserving Conservative women: a view from the archives Jeremy McIlwaine This volume emerges from a joint effort between academics and the Conservative Party Archive at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, and the shared initiative to better define, analytically and empirically, the history of women and gender issues in the party from the period of the its modernisation in the later nineteenth century to the present.1 The purpose of this chapter is to set out some of the ­challenges – ­and ­successes – ­facing the preservation of the archival legacy relating to

in Rethinking right-wing women
Philip Cowley
Mark Stuart

4 Philip Cowley and Mark Stuart The Conservative parliamentary party The Conservative parliamentary party Philip Cowley and Mark Stuart 1 When the Conservative Party gathered for its first party conference since the 1997 general election, they came to bury the parliamentary party, not to praise it. The preceding five years had seen the party lose its (long-enjoyed) reputation for unity, and the blame for this was laid largely at the feet of the party’s parliamentarians.2 As Peter Riddell noted in The Times, ‘speaker after speaker was loudly cheered whenever

in The Conservatives in Crisis