Political Ideology of the Conservative Party Essay

Political Ideology of the Conservative Party Essay

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In his 1961, Richard Hornby claimed the Conservative Party was “the prisoner of no rigid set of principles” (Hornby, 1961). Rather, the Conservative party is “sceptical of theory and prefer a pragmatic approach” (Hornby, 1961), implying that “the conservatives [are] least influenced by any given ideology” (Knight, 2006, p34), and that the party “tends to be comfortable working within the assumptions already existing in society” (Ball, 1998, pp 162). This implies that the Conservative party should regarded as Ball states, a way of looking at the world” (Ball, 1998, p 162). Other notable ideas associated with Conservatism are historical flexibility, national unity and adaptability to changing circumstances within society (Ludlam and Smith, 1996, pp4-9). However, such an interpretation is challenged by claims that there are two rigid Conservative principles ;those that get them elected to government defined as policies “clearly popular with the electorate” (Marwick, 2000, p 184), and the Conservative party’s” appetite for power” (Ramsden, 1998, p495). In this essay, it shall be argued that the latter interpretation is the most accurate depiction of Conservative principles, during the period 1951-64. This shall be done by examining, the economic policies of the Conservative party in this period. The areas that will be examined are Conservatism in relation to: the post-1945 consensus surrounding nationalisation and trade unions, the implementation of Keynesianism as an economic orthodoxy, the economic policies of affluence and their political consequences, policy in relation to the Conservative government’s economic record from 1951-1964 and how the government dealt with nationalisation and trade unions, and the economic and politica...


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...s, Keith (1979) Politics in Industrial Society: The Experience of the British System Since 1911. London: Andre Deutsch
Ramsden, John (1998), An appetite for power: a history of the Conservative Party since 1830. London: Harper Collins
Rollings, Neil (1994), Neil Rollings, 'Poor Mr Butskell: a short life wrecked by schizophrenia?', Twentieth Century British History, 5 (2) (1994), 183-205
Sampson, Anthony (1967) Macmillan: A Study In Ambiguity. London: Allen Lane
Taylor, Andrew (2002) “Speaking to Democracy: the Conservative Party and Mass Opinion from the 1920s to the 1950s” S. Ball and I. Holliday (eds) in Mass Conservatism: The Conservatives and the Public since the 1880’s. London: Frank Cass
Turner, John (2003) “ Governors, governance and governed: British Politics Since 1945 in Burk, K (eds) The British Isles Since 1945. New York: Oxford University Press

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