The Conservative Party

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  • Conservative Party
    • Key Events
      • 1975 thatcher becomes leader - shift towards new right
      • 1979-97* long period in government under thatcher and major
      • 1950s - 70s post war consensus. One nation conservatism, pro welfare, pro mixed economy
      • 1906 lost power in landslide election - not in power again til 1920sdominant power during both wars
      • Post 1997 after long period led by opposition returned to power in a coalition with lib dems from 2010-15 formed majority government in 2015 but lost in 2017 after snap election, regained majority in 2019
    • Economic Policy
      • since 20th century tended to be party of free markets + laissez-faire
      • changed post-war consensus, when party accepted greater role for state in the economy
      • rom 1970s adopted neoliberal economic policy: return to free markets, privatisations, lower taxes, lower government spending + less government intervention
      • various times there's been cut to public spending (e.g. austerity programme introduced by Osborne in 2010)
      • argued in favour of tax cuts, although income tax reduced under Thatcher, some indirect taxes increased
    • Funding
      • Mainly funded by large individuals + coporate donations and membership fees
      • in 6 days leading up to 2017 election they recieved £3 million (10x what labour recieved)
      • Donations come from hedge fund managers, property companies + people working in finance
      • Controversy in 2018 about donations from Russian dual citizens.  In 2014 BJ played tennis with wife of former Russian Minister in return for a £160,000 donation to conservatives
    • Foreign Policy
      • 19th century - foreign policy was the control of the empire
      • 20th +21st century party favours strong defence policy, support for NATO + close relationship with USA values spending on military + arms and maintaining nuclear weapons capability
      • debate about relationship with Europe + the EU in 1970s +80s most conservatives were pro-European Economic community but under Thatcher and Major party became very divided over EEC especially over implementation of Maastricht Treaty
      • 2016 EU referendum was intended to end these divisions but they became more strained. However by 2021 Eurosceptics had clearly won this battle
    • Law + order Policy
      • described as 'party of law & order'- thatcher period = belief that 'prison works' and stressed need for tougher sentences supported 'right realist' zero tolerance approach to crime
      • David Cameron = change of tone 'hug a hoodie'- strained relationship between Theresa May and police when she was Home Secretary + PM
      • Cut police force numbers by 20,000 since 2010 as part of austerity programme in coalition with Lib Dems
        • What was the Austerity Programme? of 2010?
          • The austerity programme was initiated in 2010 by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government.
          • The government claimed that it was a deficit reduction programme consisting of sustained reductions in public spending and tax rises, intended to reduce the government budget deficit and the role of the welfare state in the United Kingdom.
    • Origins
      • group in parliament, supportes of pitt the younger , split from whigs and became known as tories- they were patriotic, monarchist, supported tradition + shared views of Edmund Burke
      • 1834 officially become the conservative party under Robert Peel - Great Reform Act of 1832 presented support for gradual reform + tories not just party for aristocrats
      • began to organise outside parliament following death of Disraeli in 1881 - attracted millions of membersrenamed the conservative and unionist party in 1909 due to party's opposition to prospect of Irish Home rule
    • Welfare Policy
      • some traditional + one nation conservatives see welfare as important (noblesse oblige)
      • new right think welfare makes people not want to work and for single parent households therefore increasing welfare dependency - policies now make it harder to recieve welfare supports that aren't generous
      • same philosophy has driven welfare-to-work programmes and welfare reforms such as universal credit
      • conservative party initially opposed NHS, they've since supported it while since 1980s introducing more private providers/competition.
      • modern + new right say welfare should be minimal to encourage people to work hard


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