Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.543709
Title: Ideology or pragmatism : the Conservative Party in opposition, 1974-79
Author: Caines, Eric
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
In January 1979, Stuart Hall claimed to have identified a new ‘radical Right’ ideology he termed ‘Thatcherism’, which was attempting to ‘command the space’ occupied by the social democracy of the then Labour government and the ‘moderate wing’ of the Conservative Party. In short, the Thatcher Conservative Opposition was detaching itself from ‘traditional’ Conservatism. This thesis examines the validity of the claim at the time it was made, through a detailed scrutiny of the positions taken up between 1974 and 1979 by those identified as being on the ‘radical Right’ of the Party and those designated as ‘moderates’. In particular, it analyses the programme proposed by Sir Keith Joseph, the leading advocate of New Conservatism, within the context of the policy-making processes adopted by the Party in those years and the outcome of those processes. It concentrates on efforts to formulate policies in the key economic and industrial relations fields and examines how what emerged was shaped by the opposing views of those involved and by outside events. It considers how Margaret Thatcher, in order to keep the Party intact, contrived to avoid entering into potentially unsustainable policy commitments and, at the same time, impressed herself sufficiently on the electorate that when the opportunity arose, it was prepared to vote her and her Party into office. It became possible, once the first Thatcher government started its work, to regard much of what it did as ideological and radical. However, so inchoate was the programme developed in opposition that one can only conclude that there was no body of doctrine at the time of the 1979 election which warranted the name of ‘Thatcherism’ and that victory was achieved by acting in accordance with ‘traditional’ Conservatism – by doing what was necessary in the circumstances to attain power.
Supervisor: Davis, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.543709  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; Modern Britain and Europe ; Conservative Party ; opposition ; Thatcherism
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