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Conservatism (and Thatcherism)
Transcript of Conservatism (and Thatcherism)
What do we mean by the 'New Right'?
By the 1970's the Conservative party divided in to the 'one nation' type of 'liberal conservatism'. They believed in a smaller role for the state and a free market.
Developed in the 'New Right' strand and was carried out by Thatcher's Government after 1979.
New Right believed in a reduced role for the state and the encouragement of economics and society.
Emphasized individual responsibility and the Governments role as one that assured a stable market.
Hague and Major continued Thatchers process, however they emphasized a more compassionate view that tried to include minorities.
What do we mean by Thatcherism?
Thatcher believed in competition and a free market, and agreed with the idea that the Government should be limited in its power.
Therefore, her attitude has been called a 'Neo-Liberal'-believes in the rights of individuals to determine their own lives within certain boundaries.
Some in the Conservative party disliked her attitudes between the narrow gap between the rich and poor, and believed that the duty of the Government is to look after the unfortunate. These people followed ideas of Britain being 'one nation'.
Thatcher alienated important members of her cabinet and backbench supporters and she started taking advise from personal advisers.
This then led to her resignation in 1990.
Conservatism after Thatcher
John Major came to power and was marked by economic difficulties and a seriously weakened party.
However, the disaster of the 1997 election led to a Conservative leadership under William Hague, and therefore the revival of the New Right.
He introduced 'Compassionate Conservatism' and a 'Common sense revolution' , whereby the party might be seen as caring and sensitive.
However, by 1999 Hague reverted to a right wing stance which proved disastrous in the 2001 election, and after a defeat by the Labour party.
Hague was replaced by Iain Duncan Smith in 2001. Hague tried to combine both right-wing elements with an image of care for the poor.
His strategy failed and therefore, in 2007 even Gordon Brown commended Thatcher's style of Government.
What do we mean by Conservatism?
Partly a belief in pragmatism (not changing things unless there is a really good reason to do so.)
Traditional Conservatism is not necessarily old fashioned as they believe in reform where necessary.
Respect for tradition, law and order, also believe that government should not interfere too much in peoples lives.
Believe in protection of property.
Modern conservatives, 'one nation' Conservatives, who believe that the duty of the government is also to help the less fortunate.
Michael Howard and the general election
Iain Duncan Smith was replaced by Michael Howard .
In 2004 he emphasized on a partial return to some older 'one nation' values.
In 2005, the general election had some hope of reducing the size of the Labour party's majority in Parliament.
The Conservatives gained 54 new MP's, 36 of whom had taken seats from Labour.
Howard announced that he would retire as soon as the party changed the leadership election system to put the decision back in the hands of Conservative MP's.
David Cameron 2005 to the present
Cameron won the leadership contest in 2005 by a large majority with over 67% of votes.
Cameron wanted to win back voters who had transferred to Labour, especially younger voters.
Cameron began to enjoy a revival of popularity as the Brown Government struggled with a series of difficulties, although this slowed with Brown's initially confident handling of the financial crisis in 2008.
A Coalition Government
The Conservative Party as a coalition was formed with the Liberal Democrats.
Both parties had campaigned on the need for spending cuts, and the Conservatives emphasized the need for citizens to 'step up' to play their part in society.
Also, the Conservatives aimed to cutting costs in public services in every department of Government.
Overall Cameron tried to compromise Conservative principals to gain Liberal Democrat support.