Essay on The Conservative Party's Struggle To Abandon It’s Thatcherite Heritage

Essay on The Conservative Party's Struggle To Abandon It’s Thatcherite Heritage

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The Conservative Party's Struggle To Abandon It’s Thatcherite Heritage

Even though conservatism is a philosophy that by its very nature
attempts to avoid dogma and ideology, it is hard to ignore the
profound effect that the trend of New Right conservative thinking has
had on the British Conservative Party. Margaret Thatcher’s ideas
reshaped the Conservative Party during the eighties, embodying the New
Right divide of neo-liberal free market support and the revival of
traditional neo-conservative moral values.

Abandoning the established mixed economy of the Post War Consensus,
Thatcher was committed to a rigid strategy of privitisation, putting
confidence in the virtues of the market to provide competent public
services. Such a commitment to the private industry has continued with
following leaders, with John Major choosing to privatise the railways
and more recent leaders proposing ‘passport’ schemes for pupils and
patients have also invited competition and free market values into the
realm of public provided services. Although this neo-liberal
preference is still present in the modern Conservative Party, such an
approach has become less radical, and a preference for free markets
seems currently entrenched in British political culture. The
Conservative Party seems conscious that such territory seems occupied
by Labour, and have at times appeared to be retreating back towards
their One-Nation roots. Iain Duncan Smith expressed his desire to
change the direction of the party and to help the ‘vulnerable’ within
Britain. However, the current Conservative party seems to be firmly
under Thatcher’s order to ‘get the government back off of ...


... middle of paper ...


...ty has
also had five leaders in the last thirteen years, of which some have
implemented their own personal style and charisma into conservative
thinking, while others have been tainted with the stigma of their
predecessors because of their own lack of personality. There is both
strong evidence to suggest that in many respects the current
Conservative party is still defined by it’s New Right heritage, and
also to suggest that it is taking a new direction. Although the
Conservative Party pride themselves on being pragmatic, it seems their
pragmatism is struggling to provide the flexibility for the current
party to achieve mass support. It seems that perhaps this is because
of the public image of the party has been damaged, whether fairly or
unfairly, as a result of the party’s Faustus-bargain of neo-liberal
thinking.

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