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Conservative party ideology 13

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					                    Government and Politics for OCR                                                                                                                                                                         Unit 1 Contemporary politics in the UK

    1.3 Conservative party ideology
                                                                                                                                          There were many key differences between the traditional conservative views and the new right
                                                                                                                                          under Thatcher, as identified in the following table:




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          FAC E O F P O L IT IC S
Learning                           Types of conservatism                                                                                            THATCHER’S VERSION OF                         TRADITIONAL CONSERVATIVE
                                                                                                                                                     CLASSICAL LIBERALISM                                 VERSION
objectives                         Conservatives tend to be cautious, suspicious of change and have a desire for things to
l Types of conservatism            remain the same. They believe in strong leadership, order and that society is unequal and it            Radical change is a necessary step               Opposed to any form of radical change
                                   is dangerous to try to create an equal society. Tradition is important. Conservatives do give
l The new right                    cautious support to change, but there are three entirely different ways in which Conservatives
                                                                                                                                           The individual is paramount                      The needs of all are more important
l The Conservatives                frame their ideologies                                                                                                                                                                                    In an interview in
  since 1990                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 December 2005
                                   Traditional conservatism                                                                                The freedom of the individual, particularly in   Too much freedom is dangerous                    David Cameron said:
                                   A traditional Conservative supports authority and patriotism. They are opposed to political or          business, is vital                                                                                ‘I am not a deeply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ideological person – I
                                   social change and believe in discipline, law and order. They are against constitutional reform;
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             am a practical person,
                                   support the monarchy and traditional institutions, such as the House of Lords.                          Strongly opposed to the welfare state            Welfare state is necessary                       and pragmatic. I
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             know where I want
                                   The 19th century Conservative Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, coined the term ‘one nation
                                                                                                                                           Hostile towards trade unions and to              Prepared to cooperate and listen to their        to get to, but I’m not
                                   conservatism’. He lived in a time when there was growing social inequality and he recognised
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ideologically attached
                                   that in order to protect the establishment and the wealthy, gradual reform would be necessary.          ‘unelected bodies, such as pressure groups’      views
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             to one particular
                                   In many respects he was a traditional Conservative, recognising that society had a hierarchy                                                                                                              method.’
                                   and that at the top of it individuals had privileges and wealth that the majority lacked. However       Suspicious of local government                   Supportive of local government and
                                   he believed that those at the top of the hierarchy had a responsibility, or obligation, to try                                                           recognises their role
                                   to offset some of the deprivations of the poor. He used the term one nation conservatism,
                                   recognising that although classes were inevitable, the British people had interests that bound
                                   them together, regardless of their wealth or privilege. This strand of conservatism continues
                                   to this day, with modern-day Conservatives believing that the welfare state and government             The Conservatives since 1990
                                   intervention can act as a safety net to protect the poorest in society.                                Margaret Thatcher resigned in 1990, to be replaced by John Major. It was Major that put many
                                                                                                                                          Thatcherite policies into practice. Whilst Major took a moderate view on Europe, Euro sceptics,
                                   Liberal conservatism                                                                                   who were opposed to European integration, undermined his policies. His campaign ‘back to
                                   As old a tradition within the Conservative Party are the so-called liberal or libertarian              basics’ focused on the economy, education and policing. After his defeat in the 1997 election
                                   Conservatives. They are against government regulation of the economy, they support a free              William Hague, who brought about massive party policy changes between 1997 and 2001,
                                   market, they favour a strong state to make sure that traditional values are maintained and             replaced Major:
                                   that there is strong law and order. Liberal conservatism was behind the massive privatisation
                                                                                                                                          n	 Party members were now allowed to vote for the leader
Deregulation                       programmes that began in the 1980s. They also support deregulation, the cutting of taxes
The process of removing or         and believe that the welfare state only provides individuals with the opportunity to avoid             n	 A written party constitution was created
simplifying restrictions on        contributing to society.                                                                               n	 A national membership scheme was brought in to increase income and membership
individuals and businesses to                                                                                                                                                                                                                QUESTIONS	               ?
                                   It was out of this liberal conservatism tradition that a more extreme version emerged, called          n	 Party members could now become involved in policymaking through the policy forum
allow them to be more effective,
                                   the new right, which was championed by Margaret Thatcher when she became leader of the
productive and efficient                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1	   Briefly	distinguish	
                                   Conservative Party in 1975.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             	    between	traditional	
                                                                                                                                          The proposals were almost unanimously accepted under the banner ‘the fresh future’.                	    Conservatism	and	
                                   The new right                                                                                                                                                                                             	    Thatcherism.
                                                                                                                                          Hague’s defeat at the 2001 election saw him replaced by Iain Duncan Smith. Smith was destined
                                   Margaret Thatcher’s version of liberal conservatism, known as the new right, swept away the
                                                                                                                                          never to fight an election as Michael Howard replaced him.                                         2	   Why	were	Hague’s	
                                   power and influence of the one nation conservatives in the party, which were ridiculed as                                                                                                                 	    changes	to	the	party	
                                   Wets. She believed that people were naturally competitive, that private enterprise should be           The party was defeated in the 2005 general election and Howard’s replacement, David                	    structure	and	party	
                                   encouraged because it rewarded effort. There was a belief that high taxation meant that those          Cameron, emerged. The Conservatives under Cameron describe themselves as ‘compassionate            	    policy	so	important	to	
                                   who created wealth were penalised so that the less gifted could be subsidised. Her supporters          conservatives’. At times he has been described as a liberal conservative and he has failed to      	    the	Conservatives?
                                   were strong believers in the individual, yet just as the liberals of the Victorian era they believed   criticise Margaret Thatcher’s policies.
                                   in a strong state.


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