Deconstructing Traditional Politics. Is the UK Tory Party Still Conservative?

Essay, 2014

11 Pages, Grade: A


Table of Contents


CHAPTER I: ‘New Right Politics’ of the UK Conservative Party against traditional conservatism
Principles of classical conservatism
i) Attitudes towards society
ii) Political practices
iii) The idea of Government
The presence of different ideological factions that go against traditional conservatism in the UK Party
i) Forms of Government (Unionism)
ii) One Nation Conservatives
iii) The emergence of economic liberalism
iv) The inclusion of neo-liberalism in the UK Party agenda

CHAPTER II: The UK Conservative Party represents the evolution of Conservatism
The mandate of the UK Conservative Party




The year is 1975 and there is great civil and political unrest in the United Kingdom due to sustained high inflation rates and a growing prevalence of unemployment; both of which assumed the role of precursors to the famed ‘winter of discontent’ in the latter months that ensued. Although seemingly anarchic, these events provided the perfect foundation upon which Prime Minster Margret Thatcher forged her winning election manifesto for the UK conservative party, which eventually led to the distinct political ideology now esteemed as the ‘New Right’. For in fact, it was her conviction that by borrowing the US’ model of social and economic liberalism, she could remedy the long term decline of the British economy. However, the idea of adopting a free market approach to public and economic policies was not well received by all the members of this right-winged political party.

For many, the conservative ideology is a ‘social and political outlook that embodies a desire to conserve existing things held to be either good in themselves, or better than likely alternatives’ (Screwton, 2007). Indeed the everyday idea of conservatism invokes a connotation of preservation or protection. However, it was not until the years succeeding the French Revolution and the fall of the ‘Ancien Régime’ that conservatism was used to describe a distinct political ideology. According to Heywood (1998), conservative political thought has varied considerably as it has adopted itself to existing traditional cultures.’ He continues to argue that British conservatism has been greatly influenced by the ideas of Burke, who advocated a prudent willingness to ‘change in order to survive’. It was this same principle that the ‘Iron Lady’ used to structurally improve the already evolved 19th century conservative political and social order of the UK Conservative party.

It is no secret that the introduction of free market economics and liberal ideals within this Conservative political party has engendered major rifts within its social framework. Indeed, years later with David Cameroon now at the helm of leadership, scholars such as Andrew Vincent (1995) believe that the party seems to have drifted from traditional conservative philosophies of tradition and minimum change of social and political order. With the Cameron led conservative party openly embracing ideologies of unionism and economic liberalism, to what extent is the UK Conservative party in fact still conservative? Certainly, there still remains some form for regard for conservative ideology, which would only mean that the present party is a hybridized model of the previous party founded in 1834 upon the mandate of classical conservatism. What other various ideological factions therefore account for this hybrid conservative model deemed the ‘centre-right’?

This paper argues that although the principle of the “new right” has somewhat changed the ideological reality of the UK Conservative Party (I), it nevertheless remains, based on its nature, conservative (II).

CHAPTER I: ‘New Right Politics’ of the UK Conservative Party against traditional conservatism

Indeed, there now seems to be a gulf between traditional political conservatism and the modern day application of said ideology within the context of the UK conservative party. That is to say, the idea of ‘pure conservatism’ rarely exists apart from a few political parties in certain countries deemed ‘far right’ such as the Front National which stems directly from the French revolution and was recently headed by Jean-Marie Le-Pen. In this section of our argumentation one will seek to demonstrate how modern conservative ideology of the UK Conservative party deviates from traditional conservatism, by first examining the key tenets of the classical conservative model (I). This will then see us in a second instance using the set foundation as a basis for comparison with the new types of ideological factions within the UK Conservative Party (II).


Excerpt out of 11 pages


Deconstructing Traditional Politics. Is the UK Tory Party Still Conservative?
Politics of Industrial Societies
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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525 KB
Conservatism, David Cameron, Margret Thatcher, UK Tory Party, Traditional Politics, Unionism
Quote paper
Kavoy Ashley (Author), 2014, Deconstructing Traditional Politics. Is the UK Tory Party Still Conservative?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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